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.