Black Saturday

Homage/Ekphrasis to Mark Strand 1934-2014

Everything will be taken away
and still we greet the day.
What has happened will happen again
in houses, governments, fields.
The small room that is one's sanctuary
has no heartbeat but what one impales it with
over, o, o-over.

The Black Friday you took your near-last breaths,
I went to the mall to commune with other dead souls,
some storefronts of glass, dark-mirror dystopias.
But I could not hate them, nor the thriving.
Perhaps a child was battered by brain chemistry,
birth defect, a sclerosis, the wrist of a sick child
chained to the buying of baubles.
Let us bow our heads,
and buy.

The mall is a nothing full of nothing
and everything. The fields, valleys, oceans.
That all things perish is not the problem it seems.
By that time, the storefront of soul
has clouded to beautiful fancy.
What happens out there - no scream is ever lost,
only transmuted, as in how, some ordinary Monday,
laughter gurgles into an infant
like bubbles of champagne.

That the mall closes early feels tragic, mean,
all those chains dropping, locks snapping
by the afore-smiling.
I went to the mall to consort with other lost souls -
that other man whose death left me bereft
I searched for in wares, luggage, lingerie - 
but a seeing-eye mannequin said he is not here.
No number of hearts in this octopus mall will do,
an octopus is too smart to serve you.

So I left, and today you expired like a credit card.
Except new ones come by mail,
except your words will fill empty places
in stealth, and with riches,
and with nothing we can name exactly,
and nothing we considered naming before.