When the black snake
flashed onto the morning road,
and the truck could not swerve –
death, that is what happens.
Now he lies looped and useless
as an old bicycle tire.
I stop the car
and carry him into the bushes.
He is as cool and gleaming
as a braided whip, he is as beautiful and quiet
as a dead brother.
I leave him under the leaves
and drive on, thinking
about death: its suddenness,
its terrible weight,
its certain coming. Yet under
reason burns a brighter fire, which the bones
have always preferred.
It is the story of endless good fortune.
It says to oblivion: not me!
It is the light at the center of every cell.
It is what sent the snake coiling and flowing forward
happily all spring through the green leaves before
he came to the road.
For two hours we sat on the plane and waited and a half.
Three. We took off. We flew over the dark.
You were a girl and we were flying. At home in Dublin
the first day and everyone and in the 70s and sunny.
The clouds rubbed on sea light, ‘a real Irish summer.’
Why two wolfhounds, two pigs, two swans?
How a dolphin for a shark? You gasped in alarm for the Cliffs
of Moher, the contractors, selfies in the sweater you bought in Killarney.
Your Tumblr page; the handknotted sweater. The summer nearby.
We interpreted the swans and the dolphin, which you at first mistook.
Our hair frizzed in the chilly mist. I wondered how you would
stand me. We saw blossom and so were you. How unusual it was!
Our nips sharpened in the chill. Turf of our ancestors fortified
by the midnight pizza. The Atlantic fumed. You were fourteen,
how could you stand? Or how should contralto sound in nearby summer
on our girls’ journey that in the beginning our flight delayed?