Belief System

Sea Change As a species
        we dreamed. We used to
dream. We did not know for sure about
        the other species. By the mind we meant
the human mind. Open and oozing with
        inwardness. Thinking was the habitation of a
trembling colony, a fairy tale—of waiting, love—of
        the capacity for
        postponement—we shall put that
        off the majesty of the mind
        said, in the newspapers, walking among the blessed,
        out in the only
lifetime anyone had—in that space—then in the space
        of what one meant by one's
        offspring's
space. The future. How could it be performed by the mind became the
        question—how, this sensation called tomorrow and
        tomorrow? Did you look down at
        your hands just now? The dead gods
        are still being
        killed. They don't appear in
        "appearance." They turn the page for
        us. The score does not acknowledge
        the turner of
        pages. And always the
absent thing, there, up ahead, like a highway ripped open and left hanging in the
        void—only listen—there is no void, no, it is still
material, which is most terrifying, is still expanse, only without you in it, or anything else
        in it—the last word you said before
        you screamed
still on your tongue, like a taste, your broad warm tongue out of which existence as we
        know it was
made. The waves hit the rocks. The sensation of duty dissolves. The rule of
        order—of love—of
        what? Don't look at me now I'm not
        ready. It's a sur-
        prise, I want you to be
surprised. The heartbeat on its little wheels. Your given days its chariot. The rendez-
        vous awaiting. Nothing
        to be done about
        that! Also
the poking about in the ashes which was human
        curiosity—always the shadow of what the yes
        which springs from a mind
        sparks—of what filled the mind when the yes was
        felt—also human the
        ownership of such
        sad hands,
now still slicing everything, so carefully—the lemon is opening, the letter, the glance, the
        century, the sky, the forest—oh—the monster, the
        valley and the next-on
        valley, also the
army, look, what an idea, an army—the long-gone stars making their zodiac—the severed
        fingers and the dirt they're tossed onto,
the moon, sliced, the forum, sliced—still those few pillars and the written voice—here it
        comes now the jesus, the body full of its organs,
        the parts of the stoning, each part—bone, sinew—
        each stone—till she's
        gone, she's clothes on the
ground with brothers and uncles around—& the space where the blood flows
        sliced open
there—& the circle of god, the circle of justice—the red eye at the center, the crowd dispersing,
        & the halo of arms still hovering
        where each
        let fly its stone.

~ by Jorie Graham, from Sea Change: Poems