m y d i a l e c t o f f l o w e r s
R O B E R K L E I N E N G L E R
On the Ravenswood train going north,
they pack them in after work.
All the young men in suits and ties
bloom into their lives like a car of roses.
At dinner David said that he did not want
to become an old queen.
I told him, Honey, the only alternative
to being an old queen is being a dead queen.
We rattle over the bridge that spans the river.
I think of the poet Heinrich Heine dying
on his mattress grave in Paris.
He wrote of Rabbi Ben Naphtali of Cracow
who had his hands bound by golden chains
so he would not lose patience and lash out.
The time will come when the time comes.
It is impatient to press for the end,
even as longing inhales a long breath.
None of us can help the love we say.
One bouquet after another leaves.
There is plenty of room now. A man
can build his greenhouse of desire
anywhere the air is musty with perfume.
This world cannot hold its breath forever.
© crossconnect 1995-1998
published in association with the
university of pennsylvania
kelly writers house