The Future

On the great subject, that is,
time— Out of which others

carve monuments, hammer
long planks of wood into men-

of-war, each with three masts
and voluminous sails; launch

complicated quests that with good
winds and fortune might return,

after years of scurvy and tossing
on the seas. But we have only

ordinary tools—whittling a little of it
at a time, we pretend at saving; defer

fulfillment, wait for the rain to unglue
the lips of envelopes, break rust-

weakened hinges. Whatever its love
language is, it isn’t supplication.

Empires roll themselves into scrolls.
The dead, wrapped in scarves high up

in the hills, count the breath of stars
exhaling millions of years before us.

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