Children of the Cupola

Cliché to say they’re gone, wings pinned
behind the supple backs, longings fled
with the Steller jays’ flitting from porch to branch.
Random pleasures in the grass, and me
just one of two thousand, when a childhood
of interminable duration played out
in greenish evil. Time is old but not large
the Hebrew poet said. I feel them lift
one by one, ghost prints pressed between rollers
and the glittering of hubris taken too,
along with a hot southern night, a virgin pina colada,
nests of roots, and the pelican’s gullet.
All low to the ground my ego tries to follow
the whistle of silence but misses, finds instead
the plainness of pain. Trite to add the stars,
their manifest—a distance, a story, a halo.
Swaddled in diapers I see others approach
to climb on shoulders, ringing with heart’s voice
the new-born eternity. Bubbe, let bells
and chimes reach your ear to broadcast
shrieks and alms—fuming stones of a distant city,
mere evaporate rising, arising in wide wide time.

 -Judith Skillman