Jason With Me at the Zoo
The summer night is radiantly cool. You’d have liked it.
You’d have loved the chili-pepper of the rose,
white daisies at the zoo, the shell’s roseate innards,
the orangey scarlet ibis picking his lit way along the wood-chip path
and penguins flittering through the pond like bats.
“Flying is a kind of swimming,” someone wrote;
but swimming is a kind of flying, too,
and you were a mighty swimmer, but
now you hold so still where you lie nailed to the ground,
your eyes up against the pine, your beautiful jaw uptilted
like a man who can’t get enough of gazing at the stars
spangled across the summer sky
so that he tightly shuts his lids and will not open them again.
God’s leash is on me.
The last time I touched you it seemed
you were already more than halfway his.
I did not believe
you would outlast the night.
You said goodbye in the hospital corridor,
as if you might still, somehow, shake off the holy collar
like a priest laying down his robe.
You stumbled at the door
as full of running sores as Job.
Perhaps you were on your way somewhere
you wanted to be
when G-d said heel and dragged you to shore.