For the sun, which will burn out or run down
or dramatically implode in a future
epoch about as awful as this one. For
the one-antlered deer that expired en route
to an upstate sanctuary because
why not. For the sequoia tunnel tree
which was uprooted in a storm
the other day. For my boyhood fantasy
of driving through it. For California.
For this sadness. This joy. This
bucket on the floor. For the industry
which will most harm you
upon its inevitable demise.
For the pet rabbits who died
in grotesque cages
in our backyard. For the school
that burned down. For the lake
in my dreams which is always frozen.
For the pained myth
of your birth. For this new year.
Which isn’t new at all.
Which will be the same
as last year and the one before it.
And so on. For the air
inside my mouth shaped like nothing.
For the bell ringing
through the early rain.
For each unheeded warning. For sweet
love, which seems ever more
impossible. For Norway,
which has shut down all its FM broadcasts.
For silence, which nobody
truly values. For the song
I couldn’t recognize in the elevator,
though all I could do was ache.
For the night, which becomes more immense
and depressing and utter
and the voices in it which argue and argue.
For this conflict with the stars.
For ashes. For the wind.
For this emergency we call life.
“All-Purpose Elegy” is from Because Everything is Terrible (Diode Editions, 2018).