August
for Sy Safransky

Fire has entered the earth,
the grass, the hearts
of men and women;
paralysis fire that calls for white liquor,
that stills the hands
of work and snags
the eyes of invention
with cool, dark sleep.

It is now a game of waiting.
You rise in the morning and step
into your duties;
yet something important remains behind;
your green, energetic soul,
spread out naked, sweating,
on the snow bank of your bed.

Let him sleep.
Have mercy on yourself.
He has reasons for his lethargy;
eleven months that end in fire.
Are you to be consumed
by this desire
for desire alone?