“Lift up in lilac-emerald breath the grail
        Of earth again—
                                Thy face
        From charred and riven stakes, O
        Dionysus...”
                Hart Crane


Saturday noon: the morning of the mind
Moves through a mist to breakfast: damp from sleep,
Rustic and rude, the partial self comes down
To face a frozen summer, self-imposed:
Then, as the numb shades lift, becomes aware
Of its other half, buried overhead,
A corpse in twisted sheets, a foggy portrait
Smudged in the bathroom mirror—elegies
Sung on the nerves of a pillow-muffled phone.

 

Nobody’s home at home, the house announces.
And the head nods, nobody’s home in here.
The bird of dawning silent all day long;
Nobody’s home to nobody abroad:
As cars curve past the house, taking themselves
For airings, while the drivers doze within;
Anonymous dogs chivvy the ghosts of cats
Safely locked in the basement. Apples nod
Their hard green heads, lost in a blur of leaves.

 

Last night, in the hot house, the self sang
Its oneness, in reflection of a love.
Now the cold fragments rise, remembering;
As feudal lieges move for a missing King
Shattered on plains of sleep, they summon armies:
The midget fingers, elbows, eyes and toes.
To patch again the china egg. And horses,
Masculine cavalry of the will, prance, pull
The egg, in cobweb harness, up the hill.

 

So the self trots upstairs, and reunites
With its lost half, by towelling off the mirror.
Reluctantly, the self confronts the self
Ripped, untimely, from its naked bed,
The winding sheets tossed down the laundry chute.
The room’s aroma: whiskey and ripe fruit
Stale with fulfillment, while picked flowers curl
Their lips, like suicides in brackish water,
Soiled Ophelias, whom no breath can fulfill.

 

Still, air the rooms! though fruit and flowers cry,
“Leave light, leave air to buds. Beyond bloom.
Who cares?” Get thee to a compost heap.
Renew, the self prays to decay. Renew!
And buckles on its shell to meet the day,
Puts off the fantasy these rooms recall:
Of apple-chasing goddesses, a King
Raining his arrows in the laden trees
That weaponless, drop their pears in sticky grass;

 

Goes out-of-doors, to its own daylight domain
Where, pomegranate red, a mole on the lawn
Shrieks to the person from its several parts:
A Dionysus, dismembered by the cats
In a community of sharing: “Here! You keep
The head. I love a bloody leg!”
They must have sung in harmony, dragging limbs
About the yard; then left the god unburied,
The raw material of a ritual.

 

Last night this purring priesthood was caressed
Before the cellar lock-up: smelling gamey,
The smoke from incense fires in their fur;
Dark-jawed from feasting, they had toyed with Kings’
Tossed organs, skinless as the summer moon!
So self and mole shared midnight, and the twain
Lay sundered on their fields. What rose again
To mend its wounds by fading Saturday?
A solar King, a subterranean mole?

 

Or both? Did severed parts personify
The prince of Darkness and the prince of Light?
Kicking, meanwhile, this body from the lawn.
Interring bits below the apple tree
Where the foot turns loose earth around the roots
And tamps it down. But nostrils of the cats
May raise the dead. So be it. What's a grave
But plunder, to a gardener? Or a priest
Rooting up bones of martyrs for display.

 

The other body takes itself to bed.
Buries itself in sheets as thin as soil,
Dreams of the elevation of the Host:
Mole in a silver chalice; kneels to sup
The blood of the dying, resurrected soul.
But there is leaping in the chancel aisle;
Stale altar flowers toss their heads, and burst
In an orgy of bloom: Communion Sunday,
With Dionysus, singing from the Cross!