I remember the pain.
Now a thought, like a pillar
cracked down the centre
holding a roof that leaks
into the basement.
I listen for
the tiny letters
the steps of mice
write in stone.
I feel a draft this evening.
I felt for more, of course,
the bright black hair
of the sun cooling my ankles
no, not this pain,
idea of braille
as falling snow
burning into eyes.
Yes, the windows have needed replacing for years
(she had said to him a thousand times.)
But she left them, their tenuous existence,
half-reflections seeing to her forgetfulness.
She will remember when you’re
elsewhere, though, you’re sure,
how much she spent on the necessities,
like the fence to keep the dogs
from tearing up the riverbank at Christmas,
decorating their bodies with burrs,
and dance lessons for the girls
because, well, she danced once, too.
She’ll find it difficult to date memory,
the algebra of the two-sided gaze, here
minus but also plus back there.
She’ll know it’s been some time, though,
how she’d go to one,
and how opening made her different,
that for a time it changed her life,
feeling something more come in.
A love once blinded me
to see differently,
a blindfolded sight
of warmth and light.
In this world
the snow falls
in your hair.
How to explain
strands of light,
a body holy as mist.
It dissolves in my hand
It blackens the road.
In it, you weep, a lost world
as it appears.
Her footsteps stand
at the top of the stairs,
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,
in the body of a dead man
that wants to breathe
So for now,
until there are words,
this is how
we shall speak:
we will leave love behind,
it will take us back.
you slept in your car with the heater running.
At noon I wrote something in a coffee shop
and burned my lips.
Like this, let’s say we
Let’s say you drove here, the ice
not so terrible as it looks,
I punch in, “love,”
let Google search for it,
between the lines of cached results
I’ll stay right here, instead,
talk to Dominos,
let Amazon listen in: “this is
who I am, as if
you never new.
Here’s my password, how
can you forget?”
Perhaps if I start by telling you,
your face is another moon, a rock, bright,
defying all, gravity, most of all,
carving paths of a billion worlds
across the outskirts of this lake,
you would see how far darkness travels
to find light. Perhaps if I drew your hands on my back,
you would understand how birds,
touching down, make stillness out of tumult.
And, have you heard that words are stones,
chipped away from fault lines we cannot read,
but which whisper, write me? Can you understand
that when you lean into my arms
all that you are is a root, curled and naked,
climbing from the boulder split,
which cannot drink the rain it feels,
or see, in spite of sun that pours on it,
cannot understand, only witness, the scent of its silence,
the magnitude of its flower?
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.
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.