Emissary

 

I have failed in this world
and I am greatly afraid

that even my observations
of certain lichens, of Tokyo

after rain, an obverse deep
barbed and lured with neon

will attract, if not disgrace,
then no particular encomium.

And perhaps I might
have sensed, even at first

small failings, recorded
with fingerstains alongside

the wet ruin of a dissection,
a fruit prized for its sweetness.

 

And if I did attain, during my
peregrinations in Mitteleuropa

an incipient ecstasy, if I felt,
beneath the bleached pulses

of strobe that night in Hamburg,
an answering syncope, a thrall

I managed only a reverence
superfluous to a discotheque.

The incident in the bus shelter
in Prague, it must be admitted

exposed indiscipline, perhaps,
a want of caution, but I submit

that you have not crossed
the chasms of Andromeda and seen

 

such a child, her lashes glutted
with anthracite, tears slowing

to watercolours, and you do not
know, masters, even as little as I

that some things (the haematoma
luscious on that sacred

whiteness) cannot be seen
and unseen, and that the world

I saw as I flailed and clutched
the spilt secrets of my viscera

all my languages failing,
the prayer dead behind my teeth

was one to which I carried
some remainder, from which

some meagre fraction, at least,
has now been taken away.

 

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