Torn Score

Jorie Graham

I think this is all somewhere inside myself, the incessant burning of my birth
            all shine
            lessening as also all low-flame
            heat of
love: and places loved: space time and people heightening, burning, then nothing:
            always less
            incipience as visible
            time shows itself – the
stamens the groves the winds their verdicts the walls and the other walls behind,
            also the
            petal right now off that red
amaryllis, then stillness, then one awaiting the next thing of each thing, a needle
            trembling in a
            hand, dust
settling on the apple tree, the last bus out no longer held in memory by anyone
            among the living, the last
            avenues of
            poplars,
            downed, and the bow raised
just where the violinist inhales and begins to lower it, the trembling string, and in
the audience everything – everything – the lovers the suicides the broken brothers
the formless the suffocating the painstakingly decent the young-for-eternity the
gods, those with sharpened knives even now in their hearts, those with pennies,
theories, history, simplicity, drink – perpetually – please music begin, the years are
disappearing, no one will cough, the listening is of a piece – a desperate fabric –
artificial fire, violin, begin, faithful to the one truth, precision, utterly, begin – who
shut the lights, who burned the scores, broke all the
            instruments – I see the pieces on the road –
            this world that
            was, just minutes ago, the only one that
            was – you’re in it
            now – say yes
            out loud – say am I a
            personal
wholeness? a congerie of chemical elements? of truths held self-
            evident? – how do I see them? – to be alive,
            is it
            to be
            faithful? to be
an arch, a list, a suddenly right second-thought? a potential? a law that would like
            goodness built
            into
            its
            constitution – a game
            of sorts – a
friend – one who rebukes impatience – foundational – unapathetic – attracted to the
subject of life, all accounts of it, a presence of the human so real you will
            believe in me? –
are you still there, where I was looking a minute ago – how long that
            minute – the dangers then were
            broken law or
            lock or
            heart – a broken
            seal, code, word, train
            of
            thought – what, we thought, should we be
            capable of
            to cross
            time – to be a good
            animal? even
            sacrificial? – and then, looking up now, oh,
blurred small all at once dropping
            quick deadweight then
            winged and
            up, then
            hopping – float, hover, hover – then
            down
            to the small
            melt-pool, in which the
unbegun budless trees at attention
            glitter, and my
            mind
            so hungry not to slip out of
it – held
            breath – hovering –
those could be last fall’s leaves piled on dead leaves, thinning, trans-
            lucent, but
            they are feathers,
            look close,
            specked,
            coming loose from
snow and rushing now, all of them at once now, down, into the branchfilled glassy
            pool of sky to
            thrash apart
small cheeping birds, all appetite –