Monday, October 4, 2010
The Morning Reading: "when the universe ends/ We never hear the splash"
The younger brother of my good friend in high school is dying now - after living with, for so many years - of AIDS. If I am almost 50, he must be, oh 47, maybe 48. He became my friend too but his sister I were girls together, worked out our growing up and away as girls do.
Do people still die of AIDS? my students ask.
They have to ask. They are the age my friends and I once were, that the younger dying brother once was, and when we were their age, there was no name for it even though it was there, even though through the years people would die, live, die of it and the rest of us would worry, mourn, hope, live and die too of other things.
Refusing to Be Blessed
by Hershman John
And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
In their stone boots. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.
Pick up the smooth stone at your boot tip—
Quickly blow the dust off the edge.
This is for Sexton’s mother who died March
1959. This is for Sexton’s father who died
June 1959. This is for love born in September
1949. When Autumn came, it left the trees bare.
Leaves are but whisper ready to become snow.
No sign of a harvest, no corn. This is for Anne.
I breathe out carbon, breathe in carbon, in early
October 1971. The stones in the river’s currents
Are polished. I was conceived in the empty
Winter. Little did I know when Coyote threw
His one stone into the perfect pool, it meant
One by one, we die just as amber mosquitoes.
For the Navajo people, Coyote threw the stone
Into the ocean for our survival. Across the ocean,
Past television screens—Marie, sweet Marie—
This is for Marie’s voice and scrolling words:
Tumor in the back of the head. The black birds
Fill the sky as icy hail: It Must Have Been Love.
September 2002, I have lived another year.
I wish Sweden to keep her goddess of music.
Another new moon passes and I understand
The word terminal. This is for Coyote
And his ability to hide his life force. This again
Is for understanding Sexton today. This is for
My mother who will weave an AIDS quilt.
She’ll use a loom and yarn and tears, this is for
Love and hoping that when the universe ends
We never hear the splash. We never hear th—