After I got out of the hospital, everything felt
like the hospital. I couldn’t live
in the apartment I had planned on, not
with its green chair and low TV and stack
of mail clustered on the table like waiting-room
magazines. Not with its bedroom
set in the back, not with the walk to the back.
And I couldn’t live where it got cold. And I couldn’t
live where it got hot—I couldn’t live where you can’t
see your breath, and so you have no proof
you are alive. You’re wondering every minute.
I kept thinking of The Grapes of Wrath, the part
where Rosasharn cries, having become
convinced that God will punish her
for what she has done, and Ma, exasperated, says Git
to your proper place. God doesn’t know
who you are. Here we are, working
so hard, assuming He’ll notice and show us
some sweetness, but He can’t tell,
in this concatenation, one from the next. All He senses
is everything’s running, everything’s replicating
smooth as can be. We’re down here crossing
every t: grading the hillsides, milling
the wheat, inflating the basketballs, riding sideseat
in the circulator bus called Hollywood Clockwise.
Sunset and Western. Sunset and St. Andrews.
We’re pumping into the air His precious
six principal pollutants; we’re informing each other,
per His request, that who goes to Heaven
and who goes to Hell is more of a numbers game
than anything else. Sunset and Wilson. Sunset
and Gower. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop