The sun is sinking beneath roofs
too many to mark or number
and in the light of porches
in the winking light of bedrooms
souls dressed in finest flesh
linger and breathe.
This is not the second coming of the Lord
this is not the time of fire anew and baptism
this is another evening the same as many:
a young girl sits before her mirror,
fingering her small, firm breasts
an old woman slips slowly into bathwater
she is dreaming of the mirror and her young body
she smiles, she remembers.
Up in his bedroom a young boy punches buttons
on his radio, on his lifeline beyond the house
voices, music, slick and fast, from faraway places
names like Chicago, Los Angeles and Tennessee
his spirit soars above the house on wings of airwaves.
Down the block the ancient man sits in his attic
he is reading an old manuscript, he does not smile,
words and paper so old they crumble in his fingers
he sees his life failing before him, he remembers only
the times and people recovered by the words on
the dusty parchment, he would cry if he had any tears.
Young one who touched her breasts before the mirror
she has energy like light, she will leap from
her tousled room into the streets, she will not be
apprehended, she is hot and lusty, there is no one to stop her.
And where will the young boy go on wings of voices
will he one day clutch a faded paper, will his eyes
falter and dim, or will he be the bird who flies
soft and free, ready for whatever the air brings to him.
The old woman is crooning in her bathtub, the neighbors
can hear her through the plaster-thin wall
the old one’s batty, they say, but she knows the words to her song,
she knows how to sing them, to the wall, to her
neighbors, to the window, the sky, the whole universe
hers is a song of age and spirit, hers is a melody
neverending, it will play her into death, into the great
realm of spirit, it is a good song, cheerful and strong
enough to do it.
The sun falls below rooftops, too many to count or number
in the glow of porches, flickering lamp of bedrooms
all the young ones growing old, all the old ones dying
they step forward into their lives, into their lives past
living, with a smile, with tears, with promise or regret
they are fleshy spirit, they are radiant light, there are
pathways marked by their illumination.