Talking after running

talkingafterrunning

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.

Remembering oceans in early July

seawilmingtonaurora

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

Dying

dying

Dying

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

mantisjune

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.