Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
print version

The Clouds Are Up to My Neck

I didn’t do anything wrong.
I try not to. The water doesn’t
fill the man-made lake, but seeps
into the ground beneath

the dam. Tired blood circulates
in a dying man. God does not want us
to be sick. The clouds keep filling up
with water. If the righteous share

in danger when they don’t have to,
then what do I do? I’m not righteous.
I should fortify my home and body
now. The iced heart circulates

in the operating room. We circulate
at the benefit in the bar.
Tonight even the designated drivers
are drinking—every drink

goes towards the heart transplant—
and even though I don’t know
if I should have another, I feel good
about my single whiskey sour

so newly and briefly invested
with meaning; when the rainwater
exhausts itself, the sky looks good
as new, but it is not. God, don’t

You commit the sin of happiness?
The forecast for tonight
was a deep rain. In our city prone
to flash floods, no one blames

the people staying home.
The doctor is always required to try
to save the dying man, even if the cure
might be fatal. We should pray,

and the doctor should, too. Once
I saw an empty car floating
in a flash flood I was driving
through. The water a negative

of the night sky. No lightning.
Now the clouds are up to my neck.
Before the operation, the dying man
was not allowed to leave his city limits—

electric external heart pumping
only so far. If he had driven
until the current held no power
over him . . . if it had diminished

into his body like rain falling on a field,
no one would blame him. So who cares
about your crisis of purpose,
asks God, but I don’t hear.  

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