—After "The Discovery of Heaven" by Harry Mulisch
It is coming. The angels know.
They dwell in their Piranesi castles,
twisted spaces where outside
is inside. They are not indifferent.
Not too smart for their own good.
Not cruel. They don't tell us.
The end is coming, it is near.
Not death, mind you, not that
ugly spinster without its twin.
No. The end of the end. Finis.
The satin fabric of a wedding dress
trails behind the veiled beauty
as she glides towards her beloved.
The river's end tastes of salt
in its own mouth, opened widely
into the waves of the ocean.
Nothing we can do will stop it.
Just stretch your fingers,
let the water cool your skin.
Why resist? Heraclitus
dipped his toes in this river.
Shape-note singers praised it.
Saints dove in and swam around,
luxuriating in incandescent glories
that passed us by.
The end is coming, flowing
swiftly down the slopes.
Let's sit on the porch, doze off
in honeyed sunlight,
before it, too, disappears,
Let us believe there will be
light enough inside us
—that kindling of kindness,
a half-forgotten smile—
to keep us afloat in the final flood
coming, coming to erase the world
and remake it, anew,