The Cradle 

Out of the body of the paramour,
the spouse.  Out the body of the spouse,

the older spouse   Out of the star charts
of the zodiac, the skeletal attentions

of a science whose telescopes look up,
apprenticed to a sky clarified of idols.

Science cannot fall in love with science.
Dear alchemy, thank you for your book

in tatters, your skeletons, your fascinations.
Out of the dark ages: the godless sun

whose distance from the rapture spawns zero
after zero.  Out of the zero, the table

of elements, its step by step that grows
more heavy as we go.  Out of the known,

the isotopes we engineer to nature.
No sooner born than blazing to extinction. 


Out of the body of the beloved: the love
that bears one name as it sheds the older

younger body, the way a god sheds
the blood of characters in books we love.

Out of our mistakes over dinner,
listening poorly: a better, kinder mistake.

Could it be our idolatries have less
to do with the fallen world of objects.

More with the fall, a failure to listen
to the silence there, in the names

and images whose spirit is not theirs.
Not ours.  Where a mother was, the word

mother.  And the voice that was hers
laid into the silence she needs to speak. 


When my mother died, I had no words.
She was always interrupting that way.

(Out of the black car, the child in black.)
And it took letting go to hear her again.

(Out of the updraft: the leaves of birds.)
A give in the wind to absolve the branches.

Out of the younger face: a father’s chin,
a mother’s nervous tic, a newborn stranger.

Sometimes I need a kinder, funnier savior.
As if an idea might become an idol,

and forgiveness is always elsewhere.
Out of the idea of love, nothing perhaps.

You and I, we are always partly something
coming from nothing.  I love that.  I do.

Out of the marriage bed comes the marriage.
Out of the marriage, the older younger marriage.

Somewhere back there we agreed, I guess.
The first to rise feeds the cats.  Hello,

I say in my own tongue.  And they come running.
Hello, dear cats, I say.  Speaking cat.


Bruce Bond is the author of twenty books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), and Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L. E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.