the tannin leaves the wine
the rennet deserts the cheese
the salt walks out on the bread
and the savour exits the meal
the soot, turpentine and walnut oil vacate the ink
which powders off the edges of the page
and relinquishes its message to the void
the cellulose withers from the paper
and the fibers and ribbons disintegrate like flesh
the glue departeth the bookbinding
the air goes out of the balloon
the zing marches from the versicle
the lamp is emptied of its kerosene
the wick dries up like a witch’s tongue
the attar ditches the incense stick
and the room darkens with bitter mutterings
the kevlar grows brittle or porous
the rose migrates into the desert
where it expires of profound depression
despite the best irrigation techniques
Ahasuerus strangles Queen Esther
and dumps her body in the river
Haman rejoices and Mordecai takes to the hills
the 13th of Adar approaches
the kids race from the soccer field for the nearest shelter
the sand sifts from the glass
the missile sensor falls from the fuselage
the blessing falls from the prayer
the bounce abandons the bed
which sags like a Russian cigarette and begins to crumble
the resins pack up for parts unknown
and all the videocassettes and margarine tubs melt and collapse

when it dies
the light goes out of the world
like the Lord

A Message from the Editors

Receive ten digital and print issues plus a bonus issue when you subscribe to The New Criterion by August 31.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 Number 4, on page 34
Copyright © 2022 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
https://newcriterion.com/issues/2010/12/when-it-dies