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.
You cannot save me.
I’d wish you try.
To glimpse the torches’ dusty eyes.
To hear the church of their wild dismay
alight the smoky tongues of creek.
Like a braille of us,
which said, at least,
you came near.
We are so much
alike, you misplaced, me
put in mine,
your dress of dirt,
me, a suit
carnival flies. Maybe
we deserve nothing
delivering you there,
putting words in your mouth,
Are you the lake of two rivers
and, melting, is this the river speaking
for the light?
Is highway 60 ok with
What I mean to say is,
is your face breaking apart
across the car’s Tamarack glass,
opening up like
the womb of a moose
taken down by wolves on
the first day of Spring,
already pregnant with sun
and ice and asphalt.
She wakes from the dream of
sun, eager, blind, devouring true heat,
words to him intent, bristling still,
tiny endings of sight.
His poetry for her, she had said,
would scour down
to carpet trails to rooms,
stairwell to hall, to cool basement
scenting furnace hum,
the twitch of winter glass,
clock in room,
expressionless mouth of
She does not see a man
she stripped down to
a kind of sun, or dark star
crossing dawn into
the borders of her skin.
This evening I walked you to your car,
watched the headlights go,
the engine setting into the scent of night.
I switched the light off over the front steps
and in that moment,
while the snow still glowed,
like some new planet,
I glimpsed the footsteps of this shadow,
forever returning, endlessly leaving,
as if it knew better to trust the light.
damp colours in old newspaper
and petals of fish bones
from an old meal
i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase too; we
are eating white rice in a window
from blue bowls that blush like lookouts
on the glass of this downpouring street
the uneven limestone rough
in the slippery light
i showed a friend that picture of you
she must be the rain or that person
you were missing
he says to himself;
and should I tell you that your
breathing as you sleep next to me
is the blurry street watering
past brick stones the only time you
are not startled by my love
but when my love is its purest
and dear i must empty the cloudy water
from the vase, too
I am fifty this year,
after Christmas, the late buds
assemble their small hooves
in the wind of the dead season.
The Mennonites with their black horses do not walk
out into the uncovered fields,
or step over their roots tarred in muddy flesh.
We cannot love whom we must,
yet cannot imagine another;
the earth is wrong for this place.
Someone’s calling, maybe,
but I’ve left my phone in the car,
again, beneath the boots, behind the passenger seat.
The problem is, it’s now too much for a man to
wake up, get dressed, and walk simply
out from this place. It’s too much when
he’s nothing to lose, except his clothes,
and the door, once it’s opened, and his breath
in the cold air’s windy glow. There’s nothing
that will stop him from tip-toeing across
the invisible coals, naked like the snow.
Out here, things do their best, naturally,
to hide, by trying out as other things,
such as forgetting, or a kind of certainty
that follows the lost. And it’s strange
how things lose themselves when they
have been left right there, out here in the open,
but our eyes, of course, in the end,
adjust to darkness, and belong to every fallen thing.
Like that stuff on the walkway,
the chalky equations we don’t understand.
The scalped footprints, trampling each other
as they make their way without the light.
Or, that satellite pretending to be a falling star inside
the milky way, dropping away from
the faraway crescent moon,
I write about rivers again,
As if they were about love.
The raft, for instance, I saw,
Glued-together by summer of
Winter is here
Smoothly disfigure into
A perfect smooth bruise.
So, love buries loss,
Before it creates it.
Every word is a second language.
Rivers are clear
About this: they are ghosts.
They leave, they come,
They are never here.
Only bodies swim.
Only a body holds a promised land.
Only bodies drown.