Waiting for the Twelfth

In Shia Islam, the Twelfth Imam is said to have disappeared in the ninth century. It’s believed his return at the end of the world will deliver order from the chaos.

no one ever brings up the wages
of virtue        the cost of avoiding

that which you were built
to do        some men actually love

their enemies        remind me to tell you
about them when you arrive and

when will that be again?        I’ve already
spiced the duck and hidden

the sherry        even grain has
genes that say drink this or bend

there so much like our
own        I am rubbing yogurt

through my hair getting ready
for your return        I read old

mail from my bababazorg
the Farsi like tea leaves

or exotic blades        years
ago he melted into the tautness

of earth like a pad of butter on
turtle meat        the birch

curled its tongue        I was full of
credible fears        today I’m full

of olives and smoke        sucking
a fat red cigar and ashing on

the good lace        I’m comfy
as a snake sleeping in

a silk shoe though my glasses
are foggy or maybe I just got

perfume in my eye        either
way I’ll recognize you

by your heartbeat you’ll
recognize me by the green

bird in my shirt pocket        if you
hurry I’ll let you hold

her        her flightlessness
will mean nothing in fact

my whole house has been
cleansed entirely of

symbols        a strange
call came from the west

and I understood it in
this new language        I burnt

away my candles and woke the
sleeping spider resting his fangs

against my hand        there will be
nothing here to distract you

from your work        just
some old pears

browning in the kitchen
and a glass vase

of pink roses
humming their little songs