Bakersfield, Psalm


A sky of stars, the icy air pulled deep

into virgin lungs and the palpable

        feeling between

any two people, who, by that recognition,

know that whatever they were just thinking

        is just what they were thinking,

and having woken from that bright and misleading light,

each their own wet and tender resurrection,

        are no longer gripped by the pull of others, and yet


as real children cry for real mothers,

as real cars pass the 7-Eleven,

as bearded truckers assemble to the left,

and a hunched man in billed cap

        holds the door for his limping wife,

as a pair of teenagers insert

two pairs of sodas in their two plastic hats,


as the Kentucky Fried Chicken girls

        fill buckets with wings,

and men in the bathroom face three walls and pee,

and a sweatered woman avoids everyone’s eyes,

and a man from Sisco delivers a dolly-full of creamer,


as a gust of wind, from the huge and greasy double doors

blows in,

        then out


as the sky of stars fixes itself in our own turning,

and the sun, long dipped below the horizon,

        shines brilliantly on the coast of Japan

on families in letter-box homes who rise and greet each other

        on their new Monday—

now, here, abruptly no longer even

        sailing with thought but rather


in the wide and warm pool in which thought floats,

        now, here, we, those two people,

know that, my whole lord,


we have sinned, lightly, forgivably, by

        dreaming,

have walked through the valley as if alone and

        praise any miracle,

come up from that hard-plowed terrain,

dampened brows patted with the

        grace of your old cloth


and we now do

        love ourselves, there being

no other practical choice as there is only

this all of us, pulsing and cursing and

        bending down low,


all open doors for the cool wind to blow through,

        so many doors to the same spreading-forth,

open, any one of us,


        bidden or not.

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