On Time


The future is perfect when it will have happened
      before we die, and if is a prophet
proficient in the tossing of lots. 
    Shells, beans, bones, 
dice: church keys to the risks that throw us.

By the time we have
    read the dust under beds, determined
by uromancy the expressions of bubbles in pee, diagnosed
    dread by the howlings of dogs, 
we will all be converts. Intuitionists all, 

we will have planned to spend our lives, endeavored
    to catch up with ourselves, to get it all done
ahead of the clock, as if we could cheat
    what the heat cracks on a turtle’s back foretell.
We’ll predict by strangers’ old shoes, 

by shadows. Entrails, barley water froth,
    the ravings of lunatics, especially at night. 
If it isn’t clear as crystal by now, it will be, or else
    it might have been. By the I Ching, by itchings. I am
as sure as I could ever be that if in the boiling water 

the dropped pearl won’t move, I am innocent. 
    If sharp objects face you, too bad. 
By an oracle, a wish, 
    by an overheard word. 
Dragons, demons, dreams. The larger
    
the lunulae, the longer the life. Looking back,
    what intent, what we will have meant
by foolishness, by dizziness, by dint
    of laughter or smoke, won’t have mattered, we reckon, if
it happened before we died.