She isn’t near, she’s here
(albeit barely in our view).
She’s where she’s always been.
‘It was you who let me in,’
she’s often chided us.
When did we do that?
‘Back then. You know!’
Though we did not.
What had ‘back’
to do with ‘then’?
Which, like Germans,
we pronounce as zen.
Zen seems more dimensional.
(‘Seems’ seems always sentenced
in a sentence to sustain it as its
one trustworthy word.)
Having to pretend again we knew,
our nods were grave the way
they would be, we imagined,
in the actors in a Murder She Wrote
mystery whose job it had been
to imagine plausibly and audibly
what they remembered, though
they lied. And to make it seem
remembering was easy and as actual
as fact. In fact, to us time is a hiccup
we have done our shaky best to take
on faith you undergo because you say so.
To us if such a hiccup
ever had occurred
it would dismember
and disperse itself:
ingest its hypothetical existence
in a blip. Never make a slip.
Clean itself up instantly
and utterly: be excellently gone
as only things that never were
can ever be. (Did you come up
with that canard ‘dismemberment’?
How do you dismember nothing?)
We may broach, then try
to breach, a brink to think
we might just once have felt Time
beating like a heart;
but we’re never sure. If it exists,
it is unnaturally pure.
Purity to that degree
(if such a thing there be)
we must suppose no one can
prove, expose, propose,
depose, affect, effect or, like
the Emperor’s new clothes
(especially his secret
cache of treasured
négligées – yes, those!),
Time occupies no place, no face
(except that of a silly clock), does not erode
a rock (water may erode a rock, and one can say
of rocks that they erode, or are eroded,
and patience will erode when it’s subjected
to more abstract language than it can appropriate;
too much of which we’re glad it knows that it
just ate): time leaves no trace that it was anywhere.
Perhaps a stitch in time saves nine,
but if, in fine, what you design, moreover plan
to wear, is made of time, why not reveal it on
the rarest evening in the rarest month of June? –
which is, we hear, when Eve got naked –
finally, thank God!, again – and mooned
the moon! And belled a cat, as far as that obtains.
Eve is bold.
What if it rains?
She’ll catch a cold
she’ll die of.
Are we back to when
and then again?
Is all we’ve learned that
we’ve not learned a thing?
Two words now
plead with me
to rhyme with thing.
Bring, and sing.
Bring the thing
and sing it.
Do what we know to do,
and then append
a two-word admonition
(après tout) to our single-page-