After Reading About Delmore Schwartz (An Ordinary Morning)

  1. ‘Twas a drunkard that felt the vision the sharpest,
  2. the weight of it like something
  3. that stumbled into your hasty hotel room
  4. on the sixth floor
  5. by complete accident, the homeless heart
  6. that throbs like a terrible knocking
  7. on a midnight series of unwelcoming doors.
  8. It is June, and someone has shown you
  9. just how spectacular the hydrangeas are blooming
  10. this year. Most of your life
  11. is basically behind you. How lucky you are,
  12. your drinking glass never left for lack of drink,
  13. your cup always offered as someone else’s
  14. sacrifice. You have never seen a real gun up close.
  15. You decided a long time ago
  16. that you despise guns. To you, a gun is not an object,
  17. but rather a societal idea. Before dawn,
  18. you like to talk to yourself, not quite like the mad do,
  19. but close enough. You iron out a few
  20. of your minor perturbations, arrive at some conclusions.
  21. The house is still dark. The air conditioner whirs.
  22. Once you lived alone, in a room in Manhattan,
  23. and the mice trafficked up and down the heating shaft,
  24. and an incurable stupor sustained you, delighted
  25. your occasional visitors. Now it is not a memory
  26. of the way things once were. Instead, it’s a vivid dream
  27. that you dreamt last night, a literary undertaking
  28. that you once attempted. Instead, your husband
  29. is standing in the doorway, stark naked and charming,
  30. asking you why you are awake so early.
  31. Instead, you will birth a child during advent,
  32. have it baptized, buy it a stuffed elephant
  33. and read it Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  34. as the snow quietly descends on a squalid city
  35. in Upstate New York. You are not dying today
  36. to remedy your life. You are not inhaling all kinds
  37. of carcinogens and barbiturates, calling forth
  38. the advice of all kinds of incidental demons.
  39. Instead, you brew the coffee. Instead, you concentrate
  40. on the photograph of the hydrangeas
  41. that someone has sent. “Lord, I am not worthy
  42. that you should enter under my roof...”
  43. It occurs to you that your husband has mopped
  44. the kitchen floor. You notice, mention it to him.
  45. You know that it is important.