It’s October and I have not
used a word in two weeks.
I don’t count the tiny clouds of Bashō.
So, I’m beginning to pick up
a few lines of silence,
sitting on the old sofa,
listening to the sound of orange
in the rain, the sidewalk
composing pretty, rotten leaves
on a bright yellow page, flooding
with chamber music from
the sewer drains.
Mid-October, now I wear my sweater,
blue as the morning, that dreamt-of one
before she knew me. She does not explain this,
only jokes about the “gossiping trees.”
She knows there is no word for beauty
or, yesterday, the armful of yellow leaves
that burst all at once on the road
as she laughed and laughed.
From the window, the dogs are barking,
at nothing, really, not a woman crossing the road,
or an animal, a fox, say, that comes in from the fields
by the highway, that sometimes sleeps in the shed
(the mutts always smell it),
with the machinery.
I look a little too long, there’s less and less.
Except for the overgrowth sharpening into
spools of wire and foothold traps,
the cornstalks gutted on the plains,
the cellphone tower possessed by voices,
and the street lamps where each night
crowns of light are crucified, I regard only
their instructions for departures.
So, if I could bark with them, that is what
I would start to see, what I don’t,
runways where things go where they go.
And, I would hope, too,
I’d find a way to chase away the fox
that sneaks back nearly every night,
that’s there, camouflaged by
the invisibility of things that will not expect
to be found.
I will need to change
my life again. For this
woman, how she leans
on the black chair,
as if she had always been
a girl. The dry creek of
the naked feet, both have
together from a shallow river of sun.
And spearing through
her hair, a birthmark,
like a reflection
of an arrowhead,
leaf bruised with cold,
but pale, as if
she had been painting,
in case winter
was coming again.
No stars, geese low, traveling south.
You feel that your body in darkness is
It rubs lightly past the faint window
of your room, an image, still,
skimming water between morning
and the southerly transmigration of dreams.
Closing the glass, it whistles a thought,
sleepily, but you,
your lips rest, and hum another thing.
You think of birds.
One feels nothing
when the first days of November
arrive to fill in the wind-scoured constellations of geese
or to carry away
the sour mounds of apricot,
October peeled away.
where do the deer sleep here,
wake, cut away
under the grey trance of sky
when the blind car unzips its haste down
the threadbare road revealing
crops of still life too ingrown for
decay and that crisscross beneath
the unspoken snow,
yet to make landfall.
hand prints of leaves,
giving in to
their brief flight,
and their glassy
does it rain
in the desert?
from your bones,
old rivers that scented trees,
their nakedness pointing you
to the sky,
do not ring.
Unless that’s your voice,
calling down from upstairs,
asking again whether
I’ve seen the can opener,
I’ve looked everywhere for you.
See? A dog digs digging!
Cupboard and drawer, every one agape,
like desecrated catacombs.
45 US on Amazon, you say.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been here
figuring out how long I’ve been here on my own,
you know, how I thought we just did
the wallpaper in that room
I could always find you in,
or how things add up
when you take yourself away
to, at least, the third floor,
without bothering to leave me
the forwarding address
that brings you back,
or the kitchen window custom fitted
in a sequin pattern dress of rain,
that seems to come down out
each drop suggests,
while the tin trash cans out there
just stammer on about its beauty.
I believe now,
growing absent in the garden,
and in creases of soil
they shed nettles,
in them admonishing their
preparations for regret,
from the windows
their lessening reflections,
then bear them,
because winter is the garden
of the desert,
because winter breathes the dead
Maybe, this morning
you are raking leaves,
scraping yellow canals through a yard’s
parched lake, that each morning,
after sleep, weigh lightly
against the ankles,
parts, as you walk, rejoin.
Fall is new here, and teases gravity,
and leaves dervish,
decomposing into birds.
But you loved trees,
didn’t you? And me,
mound of decay, smoke-bleached.
I feel myself breathe.
For a moment, I believe
I can decipher the air
where you sing to yourself,
wading in again, another road
peeling through the beautiful ruin,
recollecting, then, the old truth,
the new truth, that even trees will
have souls again,
while others blacken
as they burn.