Is nothing real but when I was fifteen,
Going on sixteen, like a corny song?
I see myself so clearly then, and painfully--
Knees bleeding through my usher's uniform
The wave breaks
And I'm carried into it.
This is hell, I know,
Yet my father laughs,
There they are again.It's after dark.
The rain begins its sober comedy,
Slicking down their hair as they wait
Under a pepper tree or eucalyptus,
My parents have come home laughing
From the feast for Robert Burns, late, on foot;
They have leaned against graveyard walls,
Have bent double in the glittering frost,
They were talking to him about resurrection, about law,
about the suffering ahead.
They were talking as if to remind him who he was and
who they were. He was not
In Ball's Market after surfing till noon,
We stand in wet trunks, shivering,
As icing dissolves off our sweet rolls
Inside the heat-blued counter oven,
To raise a stump of rock into a tower, rolling a stone
in place as the years pass.
Strangers who only know your silhouette bid it farewell and
travel to Japan,
Sick as it approaches, sick as it departs.
In fall the hulks of burned out houses stand unrazed.
How do you turn into a flower of the field,
the lily clothed to make Solomon rue his glory?