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On the Sixtieth Day There Was Much to Mourn

In Afghanistan, a farmer, shot through the neck,
bled to death on the sand.
A thousand miles to the west the murders were in the hundreds.
Sparrows fall, a child is being beaten—whose dream is this?
In our driveway we burned a cup of oil, hoping the black smoke
would not attract a fire truck.
In the Gulf of Mexico they burned ten thousand barrels.
Which is least harmful—oil on a beach,
oil in the water, or oil in the air?
Whose dream is this?
When I start my car, I’m pleased to hear the engine purr at idle.
At the pond, where we have come to swim,
in the world of gnats and dragonflies there are also tragedies—
that one drowned—and clearly joy also:
the dash, buzz, and dip of quick wings.
What could be more joyful
than the far explosion of a star beyond Rigel,
engulfing multiple planets?
What’s really going on—a great universal swirl of ignorance?
I breathe in. I breathe out.
The cool water sings.
I pull a bramble thorn from my foot.
In the mud, cattails, cut three weeks ago,
already putting up new shoots:
black smoke thick above
the green gulf.


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