When I was a boy
I told the girl
I was bionic, legs,
arms and my eyes,
and the boys,
they could kick me
between them all,
for I would only dive
in the dust
until my cheeks turned
to rain. Little boy,
you will miss
the places you’ve never seen.
You will not see the man
with your six million oceans
of sky. You will try
to come back, you will go away,
you will change your name
to try to name
what made you worth
Your body in darkness lives another life.
It mists the window of your room,
lays out the southerly transmigration of dreams.
Breath writes there, trails of sleeping flesh.
So, when you wake, you will think of birds.
Lips will hum the missing words.
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.
This rumination of a bell,
unpronounced in me.
So, it lands,
dampness sticking to
the shoulders, the back,
“She’s got great faith,”
I’d say, teasing her.
“things are meant to be.”
“some things never change.”
Or, like yesterday, it’s,
“Movement settles into its illusion,”
she said one night
inside the sound
of my name
from her body.
“There are only steps,” she says,
“against the banks of things.”
I make it inside,
Shoes squelch on the marble floor,
like some strange duck,
and rise up into the hall,
and then back to me.
I walk into it, dragging all I can,
up into the underground flow,
the dead river,
despite never understanding
who’s calling, either the rain,
or the bell,
or just some damn duck.
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.
admits, your life
means nothing; still you hope
for it, like a sail rigged
to become a shape
of surprise, to transport
I am looking for something new.
I stare at my books. I am looking out the window.
I would like to say, Junebugs are speaking
to the stars, though that barely means
what I want it to.
Lately, I’ve been so calm, you say.
And I realize you are looking out a window
at me, looking for something old,
something the stars sang with.
and near night
to die and lay
for it, or
of each place,
to enter earth
to take us
there, the bird