On the subway, passing through Prospect Park,
Adam shows me the app he has most recently
pioneered on his iPhone: You are a prince
on a quest to restore the night palace
of stars that once shone like steel sinks—
the moon now only its skinny shadow.
Your father, King of All Cosmos,
weeping for what his tin fist, his love
of rice wine, destroyed accidentally.
They call you katamari as in clump spirit.
And the objects that adhere to you—watermelon,
umbrellas, unoccupied vans, a Ferris wheel—
are the same debris that will relight
the constellations. It is as if atonement
were merely a thing to be acquired
after awhile. Is it any wonder they say poetry
can save our lives? Last spring, in the back
of the Rotunda, a girl with hair dyed the color
of pond koi called across the hall and told me
Charles Wright is taking a piss in there
if you have something you want to say to him.
I have dedicated my life to this: the messy
patchworking, clotbur, hook and eye, glue
gun. Sticking words to myself, to others,
to the blue autopsy we call air or water.
Did I press my hand to the underscore of metal
that was the door handle? Did I hold my breath
as if this were my first time transgressing
the men’s room? No. There is always someone
who senses our work—as Michiru, the daughter
of the astronaut, knows in her coursing ichor
that Cassiopeia has returned to its rightful
place. The prince in his magnet-machine, rolling
on and on through the deserted streets of our city.
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