After Us, By Joseph Brodsky
After us, it is certainly not the flood,
and not drought either. In all likelihood, the climate
in the Kingdom of Justice, with its four seasons, will
be temperate, so that a choleric, a melancholic,
a sanguinic, and a phlegmatic could rule by turns
three months each. From the standpoint of an encyclopedia,
that’s plenty. Although, no doubt, caprices
of atmospheric pressure or those of temperature
might confuse a reformer. Still, the god of commerce
only revels in a rising demand for tweeds,
English umbrellas, worsted topcoats. His most dreaded enemies
are darned stockings and patched-up trousers.
It would seem that the rain outside the window
advocated precisely this distinctly frugal
approach to the landscape--more generally to all creation.
But the Constitution doesn’t mention rain.
There’s not a single reference in the Constitution
to barometers or, for that matter, to anyone
who, perched on a stool, holding a ball of yarn,
like some muscular Alcibiades, passes the
night pouring over a fashion magazine’s dog-eared pages
in the anteroom of the Golden Age.
From “So Forth: Poems” by Joseph Brodsky (The Noonday Press: 132 pp., $12 paper)