Two Poems

In Mem

    “I have gone past all those times when the poets
     were beautiful as only the rich can be.”

I read, unknowing, orphics, and believe.
My garden’s only weeds almost. God knows
what’s living in there: I’m afraid to mow.
But lotuses among the reeds and sun
greeted her eyes this morning as she held
me whispering and looked out through the leaves.

I read, for sorrow, Kees. He left a car
on golden gate, and disappeared. Now one
I did not know takes more with her, and leaves
a few short songs. Three miles from here. I passed
the house while coursing Thursday? Who can know?
I read her for the first time with the news.

I read Vallejo. Thursdays. Witnesses:
our solitude. The rain. He speaks of roads
we can’t say where they’re leading. My own wife
suffered such Thursdays barely, now my sons
are growing and will have to face their own
in darker demarcations. Give them strength!

Thomas refuses mourning as I read.
My strength is Kate who’s singing now downtown
having already loved me near the dawn.
Darkness will come enough in storms today
or later when the lotus petals fold
among these reeds while waterfalls resound.

An Unread Omen

I drive to our Basilica each day.
Its tower, visible from one long hill,
confirms my destination, and my time:
I'm late, but in ten minutes I'll arrive.

This morning, though, they had not cleared away
the metro's wreckage, helicopters still
circled above, their chop drowning the chime
of steepled bells. The neighborhood, a hive

of cranes and ambulances, slowed me down
and then I saw it: on the broken line
a horse shoe! In this fiber optic town!
I could not stop to pick it up. The Shrine

tolled unheard on the hour. I turned west
forgetting any meaning it possessed.

—W.F. Lantry, Washington, D.C.