With them, I break my animal trail,
Canoe scrapes treelight for creeks.
Words dam rivers,
Comets rise to feed.
I breathe like them,
Airholes stars have pricked.
Having passed under it all,
A world’s run over with me,
Migrant island boats steeped with spruce,
My boots choke on the taste of clay.
Blazes are the eyes of steppingstones.
I see perfectly when they come to me.
A drive to another city.
Getting lost in a forest.
in the grass.
This is the way
you must look to birds,
nothing but a breeze.
Which rounds the hand,
loosens fingers’ memory,
how in your hair they digress.
To the other life
behind the trees,
overhead, a river passing.
On this hill that sails tamarack woods,
my shoulders are a clove-hitch ache.
Thirst overflows our calves,
we portage the camel bone it’s made
that slowly says, along the way, this
is a rough bowl
hand-sewn by hands
that still would like
Like everything at 53, even the thirst
is heavier, the creek in the palm
of the valley,
as I climb,
overflowing with leaves of air,
a little stonier, the darkness of it
shouldering creases of light.
How much simpler to disbelieve uncertainty
Than to trust its unfaithfulness.
To believe a plainness,
I miss you,
You, a strikethrough of your absence
Blurry because I cannot comprehend
Only hold beyond my reach
The expanse of your closeness.
There is an apple orchard that leans against a crest,
A shadow of a road
The horses from the barn sometimes wander there,
Breaking branches on the dull horizons of their backs,
The chase of scrub light
Mixing with you,
Loving where you take us
Wading into trees, marvellous in the thickets of wind,
To bring back
The appetite of anger
The hunger for forgiveness
To love as these crabbed branches, their clenched dark fists,
Ached in compositions of lightning
We long to join you
Your likeness to us
Though we wary of your appearances,
Vanishing in all your countless directions,
Tear-aways between the thrashed exits apple trees make
Grown too heavy, our lives unpicked in the divots of your poems,
The sky urging branches to be its roots
To go further, to leap back
And land, momentless, upon an untouchable earth.
Like the world that came to us,
claimed itself a sphere,
despite the sun, a spirit level,
nights laid between you and me.
Like the poem you love;
on the tip of your tongue,
its desert flood,
no mouth to say,
its taste swallows you.
No synonyms for why,
but word by word,
the course it sets from you.
But you are not a poem,
You are stuck in traffic,
Like trees, you pretend
not to unlonely,
You wait for things to happen,
for your life to mean something
besides the earth that shines and rains
and circles in your arms.
So, let us pretend this, instead:
you are from some other place
where beauty comes from.
For now, let us say poems are
how to breathe there.
I carried you inside me,
frozen river carrier.
But I leave ice to bury
the current it will bury.
I leave pines to stand for me,
fly their ancient flags.
I will let stones be stones,
feel their hold release
their million birds of silence,
their shadows lain in snow.
I cannot wait for you.
Ice like mink slips into rivers.
Creeks rear up in horses’ eyes.
The snow is a nomad’s rags.
Winter was an envelope for Spring.
The sun was a stamp on the window circling me.
You are a foreign word on glass
the highway scrawls.
the breeze make you new
under the old sun?
How can your perfect blue words shine
from the eyes of your black sea?
How do you turn your body
in the entranceway’s night?
And the fields and fields of chrysanthemum
dried in the small vase on the table next to you
that would bend to be scented again?
Nothing is beautiful as it was,
but let’s say you’re a breeze
who can fly
while I, like a dirt farmer, waits
for your smile, for instance,
your smile, the rain of it.