POEM FOR D. L. ("Then Ingmar Bergman shows up ...")
The answer to every riddle lay inside our bodies:
Life, the continuation of life ...
I wake at three a.m. with the guilt of it,
the guilt of life. I haven't asked my body the question.
Exactly my age, but a month; and you lie
in a different city, asking yourself over and over,
Why? The question for all of us is always When?
but instead we ask our bodies Why?
because we are afraid, and afraid to be afraid.
Why? keeps a part of us in the equation,
a part of what we are, in the face of the howling,
that we call "the wind" to frame it;
like a door to a cabin in winter in a play:
the characters take turns opening the door--
to get firewood, to check on the animals,
whatever of myriad reasons they can invent,
some Necessity they're obliged to bow to,
just to check it out, the howling, their bodies strong,
no matter their fear--the check it out, endure it,
then to stomp their way back into the warmth.
Life is a succession of rehearsals
for the closing we call "Opening Night."
We lay all evening in different cities, questioning;
then Ingmar Bergman shows up with a six-pack.
-- James Cummins