This Reaping

They are all going out around us,
popping off like lights—
the professors crumpled over desks,
the doctors with entrails hanging from their ears,
the operators dead at the end of lines.
They are all going out, shut off
at the source without warning—
the student tumbled from a bike in tralhc,
the child in its cradle, choking.
the nun in a faulty subway.
And nobody knows the hour,
whether now or later, whether
neatly with a snap in the night
or, less discreetly, dragged
by a bus through busy corners.
What a business, this reaping
in private or public places
with so little sowing:
let us pray that somewhere
on sweaty beds of complete affection
there are lovers
doubling themselves in the lively dark.