Two poems

Heaven
by William Heyen
Henry Thoreau’s last words: “Moose … Indian.”
Joe DiMaggio’s: “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”

Henry died never having gone to bed with a woman.
Joe enjoyed dozens, but in the end loved only one,

& believed that after he’d signed his last ball or bat,
he’d find her waiting in Yankee Stadium in starlight.

Henry died younger, & wasn’t sure about the out-there,
except it sounded transcendentally beautiful, whether

or not it was cognizant of him or was just a cowbell
thunking in the mind of the great Oversoul,

but if it at least proved amenable
to hounds, bay horses, turtledoves, what the hell.

Maybe Henry is in Joe’s penthouse, Joe in Henry’s cabin,
maybe Joe is writing books, Henry hugging Marilyn,

maybe Henry is hitting homers, & Joe is fishing Walden,
maybe Joe & Hank are pals, & Marilyn ecstatic with Emerson.

Reading “Heaven” in The Atlantic reminded me I’d never shared this, which I read in the same magazine while in West Virginia, and which moved me so much I mouthed the words over and over in the collegiate auditorium in which we were taking our rehearsal break.

Celebration
by Grace Schulman

Seeing, in April, hostas unfurl like arias,
and tulips, white cups inscribed with licks of flame,
gaze feverish, grown almost to my waist,
and the oak raise new leaves for benediction,
I mourn for what does not come back: the movie theater—
reels spinning out vampire bats, last trains,
the arc of Chaplin’s cane, the hidden doorways—
struck down for a fast-food store; your rangy stride;
my shawl of hair; my mother’s grand piano.
My mother.

How to make it new,
how to find the gain in it? Ask the sea
at sunrise how a million sparks can fly
over dead bones.

Both of these reminded me I should never write any more poems, ever again.

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