MODEST WILDERNESS
after Milosz’s “Modlitwa wigilijna”

Maria comes, hungry for silence,
Unable to sing her one million worries.
Not once will she speak in this poem. 
It will be as if the poor mutt never was. 
Here in this place we both sit. 

No wildness or jesting tonight
Tonight is for lonely magicians,
Not for us to travel, under a bright warm parasol, 
Not for us to break the quiet. 
A grey bird calls as it swoops between buildings. 

The proud blithe pedestrians here,
They want what they can never have. 
Astrology, the Chaldeans, and Ur—
Mystical panic of an ancient heart. 
Smartly a poem can say nothing
Something it could never otherwise speak.