Click here to listen to Barry Goldensohn read this poem.
This is the day I reach 69,
the elegant union of head to tail, tail to head,
the lover's number, the yin-yang sign,
a celebration of three, the mystic number
of the guide through the forbidden grove (now allowed)
to the freely disregarded former god
who was absent from any supervisory role
in the century in which I've lived most of my years
on an orderly, ritual-loving continent,
with well-regulated trash collection,
public gardens, smooth lawns, milk
delivered at dawn in cold bottles, clinking and sweating—
screaming and glistening with blood
at the hour of my birth Guernica was carpet bombed
as practice for the time of saturation—
the horrified face through the window that sees
the broken bodies by the light of a bare bulb—
devastating cities thick with targets, human
and other items of civil life: school,
public sculpture in parks, music pavilion, musician,
library, literary life, the writer.
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