Ice River

Tonight, I fell through the ice.
It’s easy to break into light,
splinter into astonishment.
It’s harder as we walk, though,
along Two River Creek,
as you point out
you skated last week
for the first time in your life.
That you fell, and
he pulled you back.
What is there you’re showing me
between the shadows
of our eyes, adjusting mine
to your darkness, to the clouds
chattering under my grey beard
of breath?
We know what loss is –
the excavation of love. But, is this what
I am meant to find when we step
next to each other in silence,
the wet pearls on your face,
for which I once dove,
giving themselves up as rocky stars
brightly fallen from the Black Sea of
your underground river?

Two Blackbirds

These things we will not say
Roads glide on ice.
Your snowy trees are swans.

Nothing is what it is
Waves are particles,
Your streetlights bless snow.

Or bees.
Or blackbirds that circle winter stars,
Frozen braille reading

Revelation of your body
In the doorway,
Your light, your hair,

Bud of darkness
Across your cheeks
My hands are brackets

That cup the shadows
Of words, our
Imperfect eclipse.

Ghazal

I compare this woman to resilience, the reed’s stillness, her face disappearing in the soup’s steamy tail.

The blowing snow is a thousand poems, scattered into the river.

We are hemmed to our words, aren’t we, the constant callings,
the beggary all shameful, archaic summons?

Between her breasts is my grief, and the
bones she’s hidden, smoothed in laughter.

To sew together an entire forest, this is needed:
a rabbit’s trail softening new snow.

McDonnell's Fields

I’m reminded about the togetherness of things
in the way things resemble each other,
breaking apart, so that it’s possible pulling
is in the reaching,
and this often when the world persuades
us to sleep, conceals its darkness traversing
the wind in this old soybean field
that sews its dress for the invisible
to dance in.

I’m reminded,
walking this morning across McDonnell’s Field,
of trees etched naked by thin edges of sun,
calloused soil poised to feel
what I might break next. I’m peering down
the old well the Mennonites dug,
the watery coin of wish
undifferentiated between being dropped,
tossed away.

You’re walking too, the other way,
the wind climbing over dirt
that, like me, will not get caught in you again,
as I get caught up, hoping for the best.
Perhaps this morning your words
will be a simple pail I tug from the earth,
each grasp bringing ache into my arms.

The Night Says

I’ve been watching

the snow, pressed

between

the pages of a forest,

brush the light from

a dark bird

of prey.

My eyes turn silver,

that’s the degree

to which

my eyes wish

to be green.

We have a deal.

They tell me

where they’ve gone

when I am here,

I lie to them, understand? They

promised

so much.

“Night, love is

first sight.”

they say.

“Yes, love,” it says back,

“we’re blind.”


today it rains

damp colours in old newspaper
and petals of fish bones
from an old meal
i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase too; we
are eating white rice in a window
from blue bowls that blush like lookouts
on the glass of this downpouring street
the uneven limestone rough
in the slippery light
i showed a friend that picture of you
she must be the rain or that person
you were missing
he says to himself;
and should I tell you that your
breathing as you sleep next to me
is the blurry street watering
past brick stones the only time you
are not startled by my love
but when my love is its purest
and dear i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase, too

DIY

Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole Remember the Christmas we spent painting the rooms on Beverly Street? I stole some cheap-ass cans of paint from work; we were broke, and they were going out of business anyway. Looking back, you just wanna forget the number of layers, the heaps of reassurance, you need to persuade decay into white again (don’t you think?) I read on a DIY site that if you paint something once, you’re gonna repaint, and repaint, so try hard, know it takes time. Funny, today I’m beginning to see why, seeing the patches making their way back through the paint from the other side of the wall, like two salt stains between the door and the place where you kept your boots.

Winterless

I am fifty this year,
after Christmas, the late buds
assemble their small hooves
in the wind of the dead season.
The Mennonites with their black horses do not walk
out into the uncovered fields,
or step over their roots tarred in muddy flesh.
We cannot love whom we must,
yet cannot imagine another;
the earth is wrong for this place.

Tourists

It looks like it’s me,

this yellow couch

in this window of particle and light.

Can we be sure

or do we confuse certainty

with things that stay?

When I hear you call my name

like a lighthouse,

like a shaft of dust in sun,

does that bring us nearer

to an answer,

or to that bluff

we’d never perfectly pronounce,

the capital of emptiness,

that place we’d see, sometimes,

up above the bay?