First we resumed our bodies. It was all there,
jarred and labeledâ€”afterbirth, teeth (both sets),
nail clippings, effluvium, huge skeins of hair,
sloughed-off skin, and the cells
of every seven years, each set in its own jewel-case.
We coalesced, a documentary of leprosy run backwards.
It wasn’t at all heavy, wearing our whole selves.
There we were, just as Paul promised: impassible, bright, agile, subtle.
We’d never looked so wonderful.
Next we rode bikes all around the great gates.
We sent up vast sprays of fall leaves, colors that, back in life,
we’d only seen in catalogs. We popped wheelies.
We had cards in our spokesâ€”all royals,
famous historical figures, torch singers, ancestors,
whoever it was we wanted, pets included. Also trumpets
mounted on the handlebars, also tassels made of blond superstrings.
We were in a subjunctive mood. It lasted for years.
Then the gates swung open; we rode straight through
into the empty museum, wheels squeaking on the marble parquet,
into the Hall of VCRs, where history kicked its great legs
on a long row of flat-screen monitors. Then the diorama
explaining Human Suffering, then In My Image: A Portrait Gallery,
then the interactive map of the universe, drawn to scale.
At the end of the tour, a little placard asked us to kindly give Time back
along with our head-sets. We didn’t mind. Everything was pluperfect.
In the fullness of time burst Aloha!
The big tent blazed and burned out, flamed and was doused.
He stood there in His striped coat, straight-back chair in His hand,
roaring, holding Himself back, padding, tawny, bare-back, remembering everything,
stumbling on the high-wire, swallowing fire, juggling knives, in knots,
He kept coming over and over out of that yellow VW.
Shannon Holman, New York, 2000