The afterlife's fitness
instructor measures me
for the gear I will wear
in her chrome whistle
I want the one robe
in her collection of numbered
jerseys and jodhpurs.
I do my best karate kick,
screech, temple my hands
But she delivers
a figure-skating costume,
bangles glaring like her stopped
watch face in which I also
float. I try to halve a board
with my bare hand.
her pretty head, earrings
knelling No use. No use.
the business better.
She's done it forever.
The night after our first fight, black planes
drop paratroopers onto a field of ruins
I must vault and scale to find you, to find
everyone, to warn you all the world,
at last, is done with.
The closer the skydivers get, the smaller.
They land in our hands, toy soldiers
in chintzy chutes creased like new
Christmas shirts. Safety-pinned
to their camoflage, messages for each of us:
Don't forget the 16th.
The egg is hidden in the bicycle basket.
Eat your vegetables.
Later, a roofless church, overturned
pews, graffiti-stained windows,
my face in the dents of offering plates.
Every book is opened to the same
tattered dirge. A vandal has left
his initials: M.T.
Only when I tell you this,
next morning, do I hear
Every hymn I've ever
tried to sing.