I have a friend who still believes in heaven.
Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks
she thinks someone listens in heaven.
On earth, she's unusually competent.
Brave, too, able to face unpleasantness.
We found a caterpillar dying in the dirt, greedy ants crawling
I'm always moved by weakness, by disaster, always eager to
But timid, also, quick to shut my eyes.
Whereas my friend was able to watch, to let events play out
according to nature. For my sake, she intervened,
brushing a few ants off the torn thing, and set it down across
My friend says I shut my eyes to god, that nothing else
my aversion to reality. She says I'm like the child who buries
…her head in the pillow
so as not to see, the child who tells herself
that light causes sadness—
My friend is like the mother. Patient, urging me
to wake up an adult like herself, a courageous person—
In my dreams, my friend reproaches me. We're walking
on the same road, except it's winter now;
she's telling me that when you love the world you hear celestial
look up, she says. When I look up, nothing.
Only clouds, snow, a white business in the trees
like brides leaping to a great height—
Then I'm afraid for her; I see her
caught in a net deliberately cast over the earth—
In reality, we sit by the side of the road, watching the sun set;
from time to time, the silence pierced by a birdcall.
It's this moment we're both trying to explain, the fact
that we're at ease with death, with solitude.
My friend draws a circle in the dirt; inside, the caterpillar
She's always trying to make something whole, something
…beautiful, an image
capable of life apart from her.
We're very quiet. It's peaceful sitting here, not speaking, the
fixed, the road turning suddenly dark, the air
going cool, here and there the rocks shining and glittering—
it's this stillness that we both love.
The love of form is a love of endings.