A SMALL DEATH

 

When the final string of the banjo

Is plucked suddenly,

A small bat will sail

Over the still moon lake,

Shocked to flight like a bird awakened

By a tower bell.

And I will ask to be wrapped

In the blanket of my past,

The quilt my mother sewed,

And carried down to lie beside

The stone lamb that marks

My brother’s bed.

What remains undone remains.

There will be no faces there,

No haunting grimace of wings

To appear at twilight,

No strange lips greasy with blood

Or ears cocked to listen,

To overhear.

What will remain is sad and alone,

Silent,

And if it had a face at all

It was my own.