Songs for Orpheus
Brother, there’s a whole system of crazy notes
playing in Bernalillo county. I heard them
one night after Nelson died in a fire.
When I got that message it was easy to picture
his small home burned to the ground.
Not even the cross I kept on my bureau
or the pure tank of distilled water
I shared with my lover could save him.
It was Ken who called us at eight
to the relate the story. Now, with him gone too,
I sometimes stand in my new back yard
facing the great white oak where I wait
for the morning sun to cast a thick shadow that will open
a bleak underground realm where the dead shake off heaven’s hook--
The bells I hear now call me from steeples out of reach.