Stationed

It's the other ones, who soon enough return
to being happy after the funeral, that are nearest
to their own deaths—in their gaiety
and everyday distraction, they're so open

and unguarded . . . anything could enter them;
could claim them. It's the ones who weep
incessantly that are saved for now, the ones
who have taken a little of it

into their systems: this is how
inoculation works. And sorrow is difficult,
a job: it requires time to complete.
And the tears?—the salt

of the folk saying,
that gets sprinkled over the tail feathers
and keeps a bird from flying;
keeps it stationed in this world.

More Poems by Albert Goldbarth