Talking after running
The heart after running is less likely
to lose itself to ledge or leap. It has
Asserted resolve over a measurable distance.
So if the heart leaps after running, it is more
Than a magnitude of muscle memory. Doesn’t
The steady heart know the world’s greatest
Victories are like fireflies in a July field
I walk across after the night’s mile has cooled
Me down? Steadier than these glimpses
Of what threads through us, across time
And space. Yet it leaps as though into the light
for words it might wander toward
If this path did not already describe it best.
Light in the trees
Mind is a license plate among leaves:
Mind is a cat sleeping on a bookcase:
Day is what the day is: July breeze sways
Light in the trees: that’s the mind.
This month in my mind is a darkened field.
Silent signals flaring like memories coming
By mistake from the wrong direction,
from the future, then guttering out.
Remembering oceans in early July
So it is surrounded by mountains
Fine grains of memory wake me like the light sand
on a Cape Cod beach that stay
In your sneakers till autumn’s almost
Another half forgotten friendship
Or like the harder brown southeast sand says
You won’t remember because it will never
Leave you long enough to become the past
Heat splits into horizons and in this world
of horizons we are strangely upright
Thoughts try to stand up beside us
but at best bubble like clouds out of reach
Memories fall flat another shelf of sand
To be worn away by the liquid nature of life
The sky a giant tv screen between stations
Bright gray and vibrant starts telling its story
I am here where the ocean renews itself
Among ridges reaching to the sky and when the sky
Reaches down the late afternoon rain
Darkens the road except
Reverse shadows in the shapes of trees
Where the street is still dry what does it take
To absorb our shadows what does a storm-bred
Streetside stream know before giving itself to a creek
In this valley what will I know before I am gone
Before all memory of this storm passes
-photo by Aurora Schwaner
Last Night of June
An open window. A car door closing.
Air conditioning units like busy administrators
process the night’s papers. Fireflies rise:
It’s the buoyancy of knowing you don’t have long.
for Peter Liotta
The cat is a bag of broken plates.
The mother an eggshell unsteady
On its saucer. What star is that
By the moon tonight? She would
Not say. The great aunt shattered
By the pickup she puttered in front
Of, helicoptered to a last hour of wires
And tubes. Something shifts
In the sack of life and lights weaken,
Something sharp pokes through.
But you were young enough and nobody
Was ready to see you weakened but you.
Before the burst of flame met
The gas tank an explosive inkling
Of it had already set you alight.
I can never be in the seat beside
You and pull the wheel
Turning the tires from the brick wall,
I can never change your mind
Though you changed mine
But in any loved thing’s last moment
I hear your body turn as it always
Did, away from people and toward
Something in the twilight flying by.
Early Summer Evening
After the rain I walk around the peony plants.
The praying mantises stand on the leaves,
Dozens of them, like vacationers in a hotel
On their balconies. Looking out at a place
They have never seen before but will master.
Nobody so much at glances at the plants
Once the flowers are gone but I do.
To me it feels like I am growing them.
They are my flowers. Maybe God feels like this:
He cannot save a single one of us from what
Will prey on us or what we ourselves will maim
Or kill but he can watch us change and grow.
Inside the house there are no stars. You can’t
Throw a wish far enough away that its ricochet
Will not eventually get you. In the dark, after
The rain, the candles like mute trees.
In the silence, after the brief flare of sulfur,
You can hear fire chew a matchstick.