The Numbers

How many nights have I lain here like this, feverish with plans, with fears, with the last sentence someone spoke, still trying to finish a conversation already over? How many nights were wasted in not sleeping, how many in sleep—I don’t know how many hungers there are, how much radiance or salt, how many times the world breaks apart, disintegrates to nothing and starts up again in the course of an ordinary hour. I don’t know how God can bear seeing everything at once: the falling bodies, the monuments and burnings, the lovers pacing the floors of how many locked hearts. I want to close my eyes and find a quiet field in fog, a few sheep moving toward a fence. I want to count them, I want them to end. I don’t want to wonder how many people are sitting in restaurants about to close down, which of them will wander the sidewalks all night while the pies revolve in the refrigerated dark. How many days are left of my life, how much does it matter if I manage to say one true thing about it—how often have I tried, how often failed and fallen into depression? The field is wet, each grassblade gleaming with its own particularity, even here, so that I can’t help asking again, the white sky filling with footprints, bricks, with mutterings over rosaries, with hands that pass over flames before covering the eyes. I’m tired, I want to rest now. I want to kiss the body of my lover, the one mouth, the simple name without a shadow. Let me go. How many prayers are there tonight, how many of us must stay awake and listen?