This morning November was like September,
the leaves thrashing off the trees in windy excitement,
the birds swooshing like they wanted to be leaves,
and I dragged my dog along behind me
because all she wanted was to bark at everything.
I understand. Soon this autumnal technicolor
will be something we watch on television,
something we find a better adjective for than "technicolor."
But that urge to shout at all of it,to bark hello to the wildness of the outside
in my suburban land: I was glad to have the dog to bark for me.
And then comes the news that my ladyfriend has HPV
and woe to the perils of love, to the fact that the couplings
of our most basic body parts can turn on us
thanks to the evil magic of viruses.
And damn it all I have to stop using the word magic in poems
and damn viruses for being so adaptable, our bright future
turning innappropriately leafy
our strong bodies become feeble
when faced with those cell hijackers
(but check viruses out sometime: this artist has made them
into designs for pillowcases, their structure
has a transcendent geometric beauty.)
So I am praying for her cooter and for the viruses,
may they find another pussy to attack,
and for the cock it came from: may it stop speading geometric madness
stop causing abnormal paps,
and I am praying for autumn,
may it figure out how to get its act together
and realize its November
I should be roasting chesnuts not
walking my dog in a tee shirt.
And that I find myself praying is a whole other complicated fact
but let us call it a modern prayer, a secular prayer,
like a rain dance conducted in the arid south
by a mayor whose municipality craves rain.