Was it something uncleaved, clean-cut you wanted?
Something cheerleader, vacuumed, clean-shaven?
Before the truck stop marred stands of cedar. Before father
succumbed to the secretary, scribbled a note or two on his tie?
It says something about us
that we no longer read Ovid. Of course,
some don't like to be shunned, stepped on,
spurned, excluded, don't like to be shuttled back and forth
between the barge and the mansion, serving him
hot milk while he reads Stendahl by the fire.
They like to be admired, chauffeured, they like silver,
fellatio, they like to be stirred, to stray from the herd,
called not just when they're needed but missed.
You wanted something whole. One God.
What's wrong with that? In the paintings, the Gods
are happy. Why shouldn't they be? Beauty
had a certain volume. The cracked foot of the statue David.
When windows were still church windows,
before stained-glass would disintegrate into slag and gravel
if you brought back the blitzkrieg, those shiny pornographic photos. . . .
Lingerie shred in the hall. A party
you hardly remember.
It was like this. You had a few ideas about women.
A few women gave you ideas.
But why indulge in the shattered lampshade,
the painting askew on the inner wall?
What matters is what always mattered.
Standards. The station of the cross. Grace. The good
shucked from the bad with a good sharp knife.
The time before the the. The first time. The first wife.