I watch as my son
on the tongue of
stirs his feet over
that tease their
the underworld, who
rise up to feed
in his country
of dance and shimmer
to plunge for a time
in the ocean
of his world.
And the muscles of wind
though I knew you when the sun stuck
to all of it,
and light, having travelled 97 million miles,
brought your face close. Still,
you shivered at night.
You were so thin then.
I feel the sunlight here and there today; I hold on
to what is leaving.
I try to forget how things change.
I try to remember the birds that summer
that somehow made it back.
You suggest I take you where she was buried.
It’s been years since I drove there
and I’m anxious when I can’t locate it.
I find the pine tree first, taller now,
of course, then the stone and
under her name, a boy’s mossy name.
I pull back from the stain of light
skimming from Lake Erie, the
dates brimming from granite.
Driving back, you confess
you do not have the strength
to deal with my pain.
I don’t understand everything you say
because, half way, words seem to turn back
and return to you. I have to watch you, instead,
and the creek beside the road,
and I’m wondering how one keeps up
with its quickness, which at the same time
slowly moves under the pines.
I see you in the mirror,
radiant as an angel, or maybe as lightening,
or the shining creek that is moving fast
as it is slow under the shadows
of the pines. I’m fine, I say;
it’s just all this light filling up
the holes my eyes have always seen with.
Spring rinses & shakes out
Our filthy sheets of snow.
Six months a river.
Why does it tremble
As we learn to walk again.
Another bus passes. Nothing quite happens now.
Snow’s nearly gone, but it’s still cold. Drove to the city,
saw horses standing on the edge of the sky,
heads cast like heavy anchors, but downtown
there seems to be a few more birds, flying somewhere,
over that pawnshop on Wyndham we visited last spring,
your old watch you sold the man for 50 dollars.
I go inside to buy it back, but my memory feels
different to me now, as if I had swallowed every ounce of it
down the wrong way; maybe we walked in another place,
was demolished behind our backs, or maybe you never
really gave it away. I don’t want to believe in this faith,
that time runs out, then somehow goes on,
but our endless circling still circles in my body,
and I feel the tracks they leave in the air.
Today is a mask of yesterday. Behind it,
it’s not dark, but there doesn’t seem to be any light.
Someone’s calling, maybe,
but I’ve left my phone in the car,
again, beneath the boots, behind the passenger seat.
The problem is, it’s now too much for a man to
wake up, get dressed, and walk simply
out from this place. It’s too much when
he’s nothing to lose, except his clothes,
and the door, once it’s opened, and his breath
in the cold air’s windy glow. There’s nothing
that will stop him from tip-toeing across
the invisible coals, naked like the snow.
Out here, things do their best, naturally,
to hide, by trying out as other things,
such as forgetting, or a kind of certainty
that follows the lost. And it’s strange
how things lose themselves when they
have been left right there, out here in the open,
but our eyes, of course, in the end,
adjust to darkness, and belong to every fallen thing.
Like that stuff on the walkway,
the chalky equations we don’t understand.
The scalped footprints, trampling each other
as they make their way without the light.
Or, that satellite pretending to be a falling star inside
the milky way, dropping away from
the faraway crescent moon,
I write about rivers again,
As if they were about love.
The raft, for instance, I saw,
Glued-together by summer of
Winter is here
Smoothly disfigure into
A perfect smooth bruise.
So, love buries loss,
Before it creates it.
Every word is a second language.
Rivers are clear
About this: they are ghosts.
They leave, they come,
They are never here.
Only bodies swim.
Only a body holds a promised land.
Only bodies drown.
The evenings have become cooler,
but I don’t mind. It’s the darkness I fear.
It comes sooner.
But, I don’t want to drive away now; I see love,
and when I turn the headlights off over Wellesley Pond
and your voice on the phone begins to come in clear,
there are the stars.
As if you’ve travelled with them to be here.
So that’s not it.
It’s that I don’t want to trip over what I cut away,
those places where I failed love,
the stars that became holes.
It’s that darkness
that makes me shiver.
The wind is just
A metaphor for the soul,
the way light is,
or a metaphor for emptiness,
the way rain is – except
in a field at the end of winter,
preparing a way
for the sun.
Bootprints track in meltwater,
And, I recall the deer this morning
That turned into the woods,
Unveiled trails of breath
For air, then speeding into the city,
Cars singing, like whales,
The snow-waved sidewalks
It rains so much without seeing it,
Then, sitting on a chair nearest the door,
The deer followed me,
Came in so close,
I knew she was gone.