Meditation on an empty field
The winter field’s as many colors as kinds of loss.
It gets no bigger but grows every year.
There’s still sweet green, scuffed gold, brown verging
On yellow. Things beneath with code for new color.
Where the digging root took deep hold, maple and oak:
Identifying grief is like recognizing trees in winter
In this season of missing. Look closely.
There are months to learn them all. The wind
through this one is my name, your voice.
Conversations (XXI) — to the lost ones
Months into the journey the sign
at the arrival gate said Not Yet
The placard held by the limo driver
By the baggage check had no name
But we had a name for you
We do not know if you came again
Under another name if that was
Your only name the only chance for arrival
Or if you filtered like light filters
Into different rooms in every house
On the street in the town that would
Let light in we don’t know what became
Of that light because it lit us from within
And then was gone before we saw it
Conversations (XX) — to the emptiness
You remember the space between branches.
You remember being the last leaf.
You remember them slipping away in the wind
but the wand of the universe held you twisting.
You remember accepting the wind’s tongue
Making its voice the only voice others heard
And thought was yours.
And the wind’s tongue turned you over until
You were facing a different space between
Branches and saw twisting there one other
Leaf who had heard on stillest nights in early
Winter your true voice all along
Conversations (XIX) — to the new year’s messages
The messages gathered overnight
In the tree outside my bedroom
Then woke me up before I knew I was
Hearing them. Fill my branches with birds,
With the starlings of your thought.
I will see that they are well fed, and my house
Shelters them from the worst of the winter
Wind. I will come outside to them
And stand in the bracing cold,
Resolute, and watch the new day.
Conversations (XVIII) — to gratitude
Morning’s lit from underneath.
It’s the scrim of snow and grass’s gauze.
Melted (like me) by a mild
Morning, by your slightest warming.
Conversations (XVII) — to the time after
This tide laps gently at the soul’s hull,
Drawing you out where water’s wide.
Someone hears a hearty laugh
Jump across the water like a fish.
Conversations (XVI) — to the first snow
From a mostly blue sky
A few stray flakes sink.
But the vultures don’t fall —
More weightless than air
Drifting with a gray horizon.