Trade Beneath the Aqueducts


In this morning in which I find no translation for morning

in which a cloud of butterflies becomes a rational thought,

I have found two men behind a tree—one on his knees,

black, pressed into the night as if he could patch the hole

the other, white and floating just above, makes with his body.


There are angels,

and then,

there are angels.


And between them a pew of flesh, four windows

waiting to be stained blue and—then broken—

and finally, an arched tongue that could carry water

anywhere in this city the governors would permit

the people to die of thirst. Yes, you've heard of this


before: the body as cathedral erected by architects

and bishops with a hunger for spires, parapets, and terraces

but with no patience for foundations—three stone masons

and a canary crushed beneath a slab of rose quartz,

their bodies becoming what keeps this building whole.


You've heard of meadows and ruins, men slipping

between the legs of a river, their priestly vestments

hanging from a branch of a boy's young hand, and there

below the water, in the animal light of evening, the men are made

roan, animals which God will ride through the night


and leave tethered to a tree. Yes, the body as benediction.

The body tattered at its own behest. Yes, the body

the body—but what should be done with these two men

braced against the bare bark of a tree as if nailed? What

should be done when one church is being built around another?


I am so glad

no one

is weeping.