Summer Rain, Two Lights
This is the season people die here,
she said, Death comes for them now.
Sometime between the end of winter
and the rains, the rains of summer.
And the funerals followed that summer
like social engagements, a ball, then another ball
one by one, like debutantes
uncles and cousins were presented to the great hall
and bowed and went up to tender
their family credentials to the monarch
who smiled and opened the great doors
and threw their engraved invitations onto the ice
and dancing they threw their grey cufflinks
across each others' shoulders, they crossed the floor
and circles on circles of Horas
filled the sky silently with clouds, that chilled the flowers.
And funeral trains got much shorter
and people chose to which they went
and into the earth the flowers
went and no one remembered their names
only that they died that summer
when rains came late and the streets emptied
and flags flying on car roof tops
waved like women welcoming the army
into a small, abandoned city.
Two lights were fixed over the town
high up, higher than any star had business being
and yet they shone, not like helicopter beams,
like flames, like something burning and not being consumed.
I stepped two steps toward the fence
to see, to try to see, the fire -
they stayed two gold balls in the sky
and I trod on some stones and smelled dog piles.
Whenever I tried to hear roar
of propellers' wings, the milk trucks
would careen by in their floats
and commuters late home whizzed by in droves
like ice cream vendors.
Eventually one went out
then the other and suddenly
way above them both
another lit, preternaturally still,
an emptying cinema's white bulb.
A jogger came out of the dark
my side of the fence
I waved, "Do you know what that is?"
"It's light to find the terrorists," he said
and ran and I walked away
looking thru at darkness
and left one bulb in the middle
of the empty cinema
like traces of a flame
after you've closed your hand
and clenched your lids
and walked out of the shot
and lights still burn in that sky
and I translate the word of God
out of Hebrew. And wanderers in that dark
mistake those lights for guides through the ruins.