Six Million

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
you made
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
reaching for.

Coming in from the Rain

Rumination is made with a bell,
landing in me. Drizzle scarves
the shoulders. Dampness is not the opposite
of dust. Movement sticks to its illusion,
she said one night into the sound
of my name in her body. There are only steps, she said,
against the banks of things.
I make it back inside.
Shoes squelch the marble floor,
then plunge the hall. I move into the pulse of it,
up the dead river’s flow.
I can feel your heart in me, she said.

Again

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.

And now,
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.

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.

Garbage Day

You knew, didn’t
you? I did,
when you
drove me
to Scarborough,
took the
the elevator – and then,
all at once
you said
nothing,
no facetious remark about
the garden of piss,
as though, you,
after many years,
had become
inured to it,
that it only symbolized
the thing you were ashamed
to say.
And when we came
to her door, you knocked,
a signal, it turned out,
for you to turn
and leave, and go to
another door –
and for a long time
she did not come to
my door,
so I waited
in the red carpet
tunnel
for forty years
writing this very long poem
with a pen and paper
I pulled
from
the garbage bag
that you had said to
pack my shit with.

Mariela

I never called you, did I,
before you died. Maybe,
I knew too much, already.
We made love
in that TV-lit motel room,
in Vermillion Bay,
left my glasses by the bedside
digital clock, afterwards,
as you and I lay together,
I saw through a part
of you: a few strands
of your hair, the blurry channel
I left on mute, cracked,
but too bright, too.

Haiku for Memory

Sun seeing through tree.
The unworn wedding dress
is snowfall’s first dance.

Snow, sun on canvas.
A picture taken, or a
whitebird touching down?

Sun blinking through branch
The snow that in the falling
shows air is the wing.