Hafiz and I were up
on the widow’s walk
beneath a flaming sky
prancing to and fro,
regaling the light with
our imagined swordplay
when his foot slipped
unexpectedly on a pebble
some bird had set there as a gift
and my blade plunged
into his belly and he gasped,
and tumbled off the edge of the roof.
I found him draped
over the hedge with his leg
cocked behind his back
and I nudged him
but his body was cold
so I went into the house
and prepared him a cup of tea
but his leg was cocked
behind his back and his eyes
were fixed on nowhere
and he obviously didn’t drink it
and the next morning
he was still there
with butterflies sleeping
on his dew-soaked pant leg.
The sun moved across the sky that day
like a tanker crawling up the river
and a blackbird landed on Hafiz’ head
and sang a dirge
and I began to weep and to wonder
what we were really doing up there
and if I’d actually killed the man.
By nightfall I felt a mighty blackness
and a blanched wondering about all
the days we’d spent together and
what this world really was and
my coffee tasted like dirt and
my breathing became labored
and I felt the pain of having fouled-up
so many things and there I was,
caught holding the bag of it all
wondering how sore I would be
after I dug the grave
and if I could really do it.
Do any of this.
In the middle of the night I went out
to check on him but he was gone,
and then I saw him crouched in the field
near a cluster of deer
who were feeding on the leaves of small trees
where the meadow met the forest
as if all of time was in each sprig
and in their skin and their bodies
and the gentle knowing
that ripples their skin when the wind shifts
and then he stood, and the moon shone
on his back, and he walked into the trees.
And I wept, of course,
and I thought if you want to love
then sometimes you have to let your games
open you up and stand you alone
in the space of your own life
and see what you feel when no one is looking
and I went inside and made a cup of tea
and that’s when I found the note.
I haven’t seen you in days
and I’ve been looking all over
in the laundry room and under the couch
and in that dark space
under the basement stairs,
so I’ve gone to get some friends
to try and wake you from this dream.
Smile, you nut, so we can find you.
PS – I left an air horn on the roof
that could wake a saint from the dead
but I guessed you missed it.