Vanishing Acts

i. Vanishing 

On a bender here, tumbling down
a prairie dog hole into a maze, catch
a whiff, pungent as elephant spoor. Dung
beetles roll frayed neurons into a ball:

Yes, it’s all shit.  Random shit.  The world keeps
turning.  Deep time.  No time.  My shad-fly theory
of human existence: here and gone within 24 hours –
our wings splayed over a verandah light bulb

or hung to dry on the cottage’s blue aluminum siding
we mistook for sky.  Lace-like, we slip between
grass blades, baptism by garden hose. Reincarnation
for the western mind.

Thing is, I stumbled across Anne Carson’s
Antigonick in the midst of mourning the loss
of my older brother, baby sister, father, beloved dog –
practically all at once, before finding myself

ill, my sister-in-law more so.
Then husband.  Not to bring the whole
Greek affair down on your head but
Tig’s story echoes throughout my years –

my older brother by my side.  His near
drowning on the Mediterranean
(as an undergrad) made Odysseus’ journey
vibrant, Greek gods, male and female,

animal and bird, simply more riveting
than the desert god we’d grown up with.
Ok, confess:  born into a household where
theology is milk and manna, your dad’s a lawyer

becomes a clergyman. Anybody else’s rituals
of worship are more intriguing. Tonight, sitting
in grief’s debris, will someone knock me out?
Not much of daily life but for sleep and meals.
Will I live all this loss again with age?

Descent on a spiral staircase, steps
erode beneath me.  Suck-hole of tears.
Antigone rightly closed the door behind her.
My dear brother, your death only the beginning.