Because She Danced

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.

Until There Are Words

Her footsteps stand
at the top of the stairs,
I pretend
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,

her dream

in the body of a dead man
that wants to breathe
for me.

So for now,
until there are words,
this is how
we shall speak:

we will leave love behind,
it will take us back.

Ice Out

Light is always years away,
so when it’s here, it’s gone,
like us, when we’re on 60, going 90,
your windowed reflection there
so that I see through your love,
the drink of you spilling from me
and taken by the winter molt of lakes,
like an all-in poker hand, winning you,
swallowing you
whole through the teeth of tamarack,
doing this, not touching,
encrusted in, like your spirit said it would,
in the eye pits of a moose,
taken down by wolves
on the first day we said
we knew it had to be Spring.

Wish

The wind plays
at being startled by my presence,
and rakes my body for wishes
my eyes have made, the silver cravings of
two coins. It is falling head
over heals to carry you over dirt,
follows as I walk across Macdonell’s Field
until peering into the Mennonite well,
I see into the neck of the heavenly earth,
and the bare brown trees circling
our extinct sun. And in each step, the ground waits
to feel what it must give into next.
What if a word could breathe on its own,
or swim in a pail which we would draw up,
and shining, coldly, let us drink from it?

ok

Ok,

love,
here I am,
so that you
will not
find me
missing
among the
missed
words,
explanations
for each
breath, each
other –

and yet
know
there is
still
beauty, that
you
will not
feel it, my
hand
in the breeze
of your hair,
the way
perhaps
you
feel
it.

About that Can Opener you Lost

Unless that’s your voice,
calling down from upstairs,
asking again whether
I’ve seen the can opener,
I’m outside.

I’ve looked everywhere for you.
See? A dog digs digging!
Cupboard and drawer, every one agape,
like desecrated catacombs.
45 US on Amazon, you say.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been here
figuring out how long I’ve been here on my own,
thinking about,
you know, how I thought we just did
the wallpaper in that room
I could always find you in,

or how things add up
when you take yourself away
to, at least, the third floor,
without bothering to leave me
the forwarding address
that brings you back,

or the kitchen window custom fitted
in a sequin pattern dress of rain,
that seems to come down out
of nowhere,

like sadness
each drop suggests,
while the tin trash cans out there
just stammer on about its beauty.

Hope

Maybe I am dirt. Maybe
I am dirt that buries you,
and it’s in me
to learn
to softly bring you water
that tastes something
like the sun.

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.