Without the sound of shots fired up the block, like a conversation
between blown-out tires, and crickets swelling up
to mask the dead air after, without the flashlights of police
grazing the windows, and voices relayed in from neighbors’ yards,
what blessing for this hurtling earth would we have left
to offer, what would our attempts at praise be worth?
Here, the calendar’s been emptied of its saints, and when the tape runs out,
the click of the recorder cutting off is all the solace we’ll receive.
There is nothing any less holy about the bombed-out house
next door than there is a cornfield, or the names we give the grass.
There is no worldly space that wouldn’t rather shun us,
with our frenetic dreaming, our baby monitors, and drawn blinds.
Long after the street goes back to sleep, the motion sensor floodlight
beside the house continues flickering on and off, to signal yes
it, too, is becoming restless, and yes, I should begin to map
our exit, just in case. O false god of solitude, may the luxury of standing still
be, again, afforded to your most unlikely angels: tonight,
all I believe in is the constellation of toy trucks neglecting
to take cover across the kitchen. Holy is the half-emptied box of Cocoa Puffs,
the glinting of the tea kettle, and the backpack slung from
a wooden chair. Holy is the silence of the fruit fly as it winds
up the hallway, the soft breath of the A/C, wafting it toward the bedroom,
and the child dozing there, so spent he must be eased
awake in time for breakfast, long after the day’s first bus departs.