When you called out in Turkish,
in your sleep,
I thought of the horses locked
in the barn
and their copper bodies brooding
like cathedral bells in their stalls.
I sat up in the bed,
and looked at what there was to see of you,
the crescent of black hair across your eyes,
your breast roosting in the crook
of an elbow,
and wondered who it is you speak to now,
and I remembered the freezing
rain whipping against the
shoulders of the barn,
and then the thunder, as though
it had rung from inside.
He’s unafraid of death, inexplicably.
He would like to turn away from the sea,
The city’s nearby, the old job.
He wants to forget the layers of words,
Water rhymes with water, and with water.
Let’s pretend the brown sofa in your living room
Where you made love is a small boat
And the curtain in the window is a sail.
The waves roam faraway
And the clouds wheel with the ballads of gulls
And through the evaporation, you see the glitter
Of his beautiful decay, there amid all his art
With which he never painted you
Because he painted words. And drowned you.
And saved you. And drowned you.
There is some stale chocolate in gold foil
on the night table, and a can of Coca Cola
beside it. It’s so quiet here, I can hear the
carbonation. Meanwhile, I think about downstairs,
three flights away, the lights off,
and the bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge,
clear as water, that I meant to drink today,
and before that, yesterday. I just want you
to know this, so that you understand
the kind of man you’re dealing with,
and that it’s also three flights back again.
You brush your hair in the silver mirror,
A barren field, like the moon
Clambering amid the gestures of bare branches.
Once your hair was like the sun.
Still you are light,
Resembling a shadow’s, cloud’s, wind’s, a bright mist
And you set-off where I no longer see you.
Still you are light, like a shrinking trail.
You do not need to tell me
The place that is taking you away from here.
When the moon becomes the sun,
I know because you become the moon.
“They’re not flying to represent freedom, Paul,”
she said, smiling at the crows, tipping just below the ridge,
next, unwinding, thinly touching black cornices of lake.
“They’re not circling to symbolize love, darling.”
They’re hungry. They want food” And later,
leaning on the kitchen counter,
he recalled these remarks, observing the resolve in which her
body gathered and bore down into day-old bread,
the way both hands slid to her hips, fingers spreading to
meet the knife, and how her small mouth puffed-up to
chew a kind of wild clay.
Around her lips, a white cloud of flour
that formed into a peckish smile.
I like to slit the world into lines
So dusk is a kind of waking music.
Up the road, the orchard is hypnotized with apples
Like stars in a black gravity of stillness.
There is a sea of them, no, this is a voice.
There is the end of a record player
Being peeled, like an apple
With its antennae.
These crickets have one thing to explain
And have not finished it.
A car passes outside the window,
The way you loved me.
This is not a poem for B_,
or her other redacted twin,
like the others I have heaped
and stored on microchips,
abandoned handrails, caught in the
chattered teeth of change-drawers.
Small poems made of her.
In rooms of her. Onto orchards of her.
Look, I cannot even finish her name,
only cut an outline.
I sit here. I remember. I wait.
For word of her. But
How much more skin can I say of skin,
and how much more darkness can speak
of its homesickness? She is never the
that bespeaks herself,
the crow on the nearby branch, or the
swallow I have never seen cry,
from a river I have never seen.
This is a poem for that woman,
what it scarcely makes of her.