Report from Beyond

by Michael Bazzett

Michael Bazzett

After Herbert

In paradise the work week is fixed at thirty hours
and manual labor is only pleasantly more tiring than typing
so that a morning chopping wood is barely enough
to make the ham sandwich and the cold bottle of beer
a bit more delicious at the rough wooden table afterward

Punctuation is underused because words flow one into
the other like branching streams of snowmelt wrinkling
over rough granite into alpine meadows where tiny stars
pass themselves off as flowers and the children weave
green stems into crowns which are the only trappings worn
by the rulers who are wise and listen intently to their subjects
without merely thinking of what words they will offer in response

The parks are clean the social system stable and the new
eight day week has created a gentle hammock of time
in what used to be Sunday evening where the bells toll
and streets are closed so families might stroll the avenues

Old men still wear their pants too high public fountains
are still fish-scaled with coins the authorities have yet to
solve how the smell of frying food hangs in the air for hours

At first the great beyond was to have been quite different
each life was to have comprised one note in the harmonious
thrum of a cosmic chord but they found it too difficult
to reduce even simple lives to a single sound and a gluey
paste kept getting caught at the back of the angels’ throats

God has yet to make an appearance but this absence is
common fodder for the rumors which suggest he wanders
among them as a breeze so they see not him but his evidence.

Last updated August 21, 2022