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.

Last Words

I think I smiled when you said,
I’m dead to you. Last words, unoriginal,
not like you, sweetheart.
I’m going to drive from Hamilton through to Cambridge.
My mind will be as incandescent as their fields.
My metaphor will be the heart —
in keeping, at last, with your words,
under ground, devoured by
the body of dirt and the dull bones
that have turned into lead.
I’ll smile, the way a smile is a cliche,
a hole that buries things.

Sweetheart

The last thing I want to write about
are words, sweet corpses of feelings,
though last night I dreamt about you,
not you, I suppose, but your foreign words
taunt on my mouth:
“Merhaba, gunaydin, askim,” I said,
to nobody.

In the coffee shop this morning,
there’s a woman here, like you.
Dark hair and dark eyes —
and so
the strange, defiant light.

I’d like to say hello to her,
good morning,
but I’m stopped by crumbs
covering me,
and old sugared coffee spilled
across the table,
sticky against skin, stuck
to its own silent words.

Trans Am

You go to bed very early,
wounded, unsure how.
Maybe shot in the abdomen,
though still can’t seem to find bullets,
or slammed by a Trans Am
on Russell Street, turning west,
no, perhaps chased down
by a deer pursued by a sound
it does not see. But,
having said that,
there are no Trans Ams anymore.
Regardless, you feel it,
under the night, under
the tree, under the weak lamp
on the street,
a shape parked
under the rotting sheets
of leaves.