Critique and Rebuttal
Courage is no good . . .
Maybe Art’s only purpose is to preserve the Self.
You’re born, you suffer, you die. Then?
You’re forgotten. At best the hypothetical
museum that unearths and houses your bones
(a fragment of your jaw, say) survives
a few centuries and doesn’t crumble
until everything else does. Can you name
your grandfather’s grandmother?
Nothing after. That drywall house
you’ve decorated with pictures
from occasional vacations where you ate
expensive cuts of meat, and mistook,
for brief moments, some lamplight over a river
as a sign of forgiveness for your wrongs:
oblivion bowls that little house over
well after the pictures have been taken down
and the new tenants move in and paint
over the color you said was perfect.
Nothing after. The new dog sniffs
the old dog’s collar and we make up the rest.
Not just some lamplight, and not just a river,
it was the Seine for one thing, and we stayed
a few doors down from where Matisse lived
when he painted A Glimpse of Notre Dame.
On the night before our last night,
we sat on the steps to the riverwalk
that appear in that painting and waved at the boats
and kissed and clumsily took pictures
of ourselves. And because we were full