Day and Night

There is less time to write now.
I leave the office at 5,
run for an hour.
I drive to your house with flowers,
kiss you. Kiss you, finally, and leave.
I think about calling on the drive home.
I make dinner for myself, wash,
set the alarm. I look for the matches
to light the candles so that I can sleep
and which I will set on my desk
where I spent all those nights writing.
I tell myself, nothing is wasted.

Knees

February takes me by surprise,
in the middle of it,
legless as knees
up to snow’s filthy quicksand.
Something’s calling though,
the river blind with meltwater,
the air leaking its signals into my lungs,
no louder than a heart caught
in the ear.

Rivers Again

Every word requires a second language.
For example, there is no word for beauty,
though rivers are stories
about love, the plot of rafts,
I saw, glued-together by summer’d
Tamarack reflections
under a winter’d disfigured bruise.
Of this language,
rivers are clear about this:
only bodies swim.
Only a body holds a promised land.
Only bodies drown, holy
as the river reiterating the river,
the blood, succinct, inside the wine.

In the Car

Words between us are like birds
that have not returned.
We drive by the ice ponds
on the undeveloped land.
You take a left at the lights.
They circle, they cannot land.

Small Brightness

All you were ever good for was going
on and on,
arriving in between
neither
here nor there,
legs always knowing
the way
to turn stone into the shape
of motion,
to hunt, to close in on,
to step into
the place of distance stationed
the eyes,
and to rest beside
the star-freckled nakedness
of a river, or tamarack,
which talk in their sleep,
guessing you will wake
to start again,
to blink into
the small brightness of a fire
that is always
haunted with hope,
a head, forever,
full of hunger.

Chukuni River

This morning he sees the river
he has not seen,
because the river swirls
as to sew tatters of thoughts
into shimmering rags of
memory, memory
inside-out of memory,
the way the river combs
the landscape that palms it
so the landscape becomes the body
of its direction
and the limbs
of its intent, the way the land,
it seems to him, comes to love
the mind of the river.

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.