For Instance, the Geese

There is no name for that.
There’s no strength that holds happiness.
There’s no promised land of sadness.
The fields are gold with fall,
They are silver with winter.
The car is trailed with the filthy snow that led you here.
You note the windshield paintings,
the ancient figures, antelopes of ice melting into lakes,
Arms of blue rivers white with the harvest of clouds.
There was some mission.
About the mystery, you had come to
an understanding. For instance,
the geese circling forming wonder —
so why stay so long with them into winter?
What was the sound that we made,
if not a cry?

Until There Are Words

Her footsteps stand
at the top of the stairs,
I pretend
I am asleep.

I stand, too,
in my mind’s imitation of me
in the corner
of the room.

I see the dark shape of her ghost
traversing the room. I am frightened.
I can no longer
see this through,

her dream

in the body of a dead man
that wants to breathe
for me.

So for now,
until there are words,
this is how
we shall speak:

we will leave love behind,
it will take us back.

Yellow hair

This morning I heard from you.
I watched the window, wind possess
the bodies of trees,
comb the yellow hair of stripped cornfields.
I opened every window to let it come
and steal what it could,
rub out the things inside.
It’s evening now, and the cold the day’s left
sleeps in the chair beside me.
It breathes quietly as I write.
We never see ghosts, we only feel them.

This is How it Looks When it Looks Like This

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.

Your life

never went anywhere.
It stayed with you,
like that poem you lost about your father
that you wrote in ’86
about the bicycle leaning against
the downspout in the rain.

4 AM

Near the end,
I stepped out into the yard
and recorded the birds for you.
They always see mornings before we do.
This evening, I turned on the recording
on my phone, and felt their vibrations
in my palm, as if they were feeding there.
I listened to the difference in the clarity
they coloured the night with,
and the kernels of your darkness
that ravens, I think, pluck for their eyes.
I never sent you this
or played it back to you.
Let there be darkness, my love.
Blackbird, sleep with me.

Downspout

Your life never went anywhere.
It stayed with you,
like that poem you lost about your father
that you wrote in ’86
about the bicycle leaning against
the downspout in the rain.

november 3

november 3

No stars, geese low, traveling south.

You feel that your body in darkness is
another life.
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.

Leaves

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.
One wonders,
where do the deer sleep here,
in November,
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.

So Far

Here’s what I’ve noticed.
An airplane, slow
as scissors, that flatlines the sky.
And, birds
that slice the air
above a dump, wings V’d,
like blades, demonstrating either
how to leave, or go.