Sob Artist—Take 5
Robert Vivian

We smiles coming down from heaven, a paradise of slightly parted lips, a smile to light a lovely mile, a smile at a funeral, at a wake, sad smile over the loss of a loved one, a kopeck’s worth of kissing, what were you about to do or say and how were you going to say it, what leaning intent of feeling and bodily tilt and lilting, shudder-most to a sobbing wire of sunlight, rounding edges of joy and sadness, the trees’ listening faces, their whole magnificent bodies teaching us how to reach and never stop reaching for sunlight, for dear green buds of growth and later leaves unfurling ever sobward to the sky, the deer in the woods rapt in attention as I approach, high steppers of the early morning frost and wreathes of breath, what were you about to say and how would you speak it with your whole body and every firing nerve ending, I grope and grasp at a feeling, I feel a sob rising up from the bottom my throat in slow ascension and slug of feeling, a perfectly rounded orb of emotion the earth gave to me in its endless grief and ecstasy, a sob that contains butterflies and lilacs and the sudden death of Ralph Angel, a sob that contains coronavirus and take-out Mexican, we crying smiles coming down from heaven on our knees with pity and with praise and with such uncertain sorrow we double over as one chorus and release all the pent-up sobs, this weeping Niagra, shaking body racks and Ralph gone again so suddenly a little water on the brain that turned to drowning, we smile, we aching lift-off smile, Chernobyl on our backs in fall-out of such mourning and Mary knows, has felt, is feeling now at the foot of the cross, at the feet of every dying human and roadkill, empty shelves at the grocery stores and people buying up guns and ammo, we smile drifting across the Heartland and spinning aloft with the wind turbines, I caught a flu of sorrow for all this waste, all this stark un-mercy but the robins heal me every morning, their sweet, irascible joy, a little bird house on the deck a student painted in rainbow colors just for me, Please come in, says the dark little mouth of the bird house, Lie down in peace after great sorrow, Listen to the other birds so busy and crazed with their own madcap praising.