THE GOD OF INATTENTION

AVERILL CURDY

 

After the trumpets, after the incense
There were nights insomnia fathered gods
I then rejected as too angry or distracted,
Or whose appetite for submission revealed
Their own lack of faith. Say our names,
All synonyms for trust. Others spoke
In sugared paradox: To know is to know
All. To not know all is not to know. To know
All requires that you know very little,
But to know that little you have to know
All. And for a while, it’s true,
I burned in the dark fires of ambivalence,
My attention consumed like oxygen.
I’d wake up tired, as I had with the married man
Whose strictures and caprice begat,
And begat, and begat, and begat
My love for him, harvesting the same
Silence from my bed. Who listens
To my penitential tune? Who accepts
My petitions for convenient parking,
For spring, for the self illuminated
Across a kitchen table, for . . . for
Fortitude? I’ve heard a voice, I’m sure,
Advising me to drop this sentimental farce.
Only to hold the smoke of their names
Again in my mouth I’d resurrect
The dead, or adopt the gods orphaned
By atheists, except the gods they’ve made
From disbelief no one’s faith could tolerate.
Refusing to make the same mistake
Just once, I’ve cried out to the dark
Many names, most given up as routinely
As the secrets of friends. If you’re a cup
Will my lips profane your own? If a comb
Will I feel your teeth against my neck?
If a wall I will be darker than your shadow.
And if a door I will unlatch you, letting in
All the little foxes from the vineyard.

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