Near the End of the First Winter of My Sixth Decade
Through a brick-lined alley where I read my life’s sentence
I step over a rivulet of snowmelt that flows behind me into the past
walking with an open cup of coffee in a soft cold rain
The moon’s not looking
out a window in
the house next door
to the west of bed.
Rising I talk the evening
down from its sorrows:
What begins as one thing
passes into another, I say,
sundown to dusk to night
for instance, night to
faintest light to dawn
to day. Then night says
in a voice so dark I can
not read its words
What begins as love
passes into love
and from the house next door
to the east of my steps
the moon rises
as from its black chimney
On a Cafe Window
The flowers reach for their reflections.
A potted plant floats in the air as car
after car runs through it without moving
a petal. A building’s slanting shadow
cuts the road in halves. As I look again
the flowers are not reaching for anything.
A volume of my favorite poet
occupies the left-turn lane.
Car after car have stopped and are waiting;
No light changes. Was all the motion imagined?
Sometimes it’s the other way around,
though most times the winter sun does x off x
by which I mean, you glimpse it baring the soul
of a whisper of empty branches or scrolling a message
across exhausted snow crusting a street corner
and you see reality, suddenly, not in a new way but an old
way in the way the winter sun is old, it’s been burning
so long after all maybe you think not with the heat
it had as a younger sun when everything grew green
beneath its gaze till a hemisphere turned its shoulder one
season and that was it, but sometimes it’s the other way
around, things can be cold and burning at once,
sometimes reality sees you, and it’s blinding.
To the Poem I Did Not Write Last Night, & To Its Reader Who Will Not Read It But Will At Least Have This
A thousand years from now, the distance between last night
and tonight will be infinite. Unreachable, like the star
you pretend to hold at the end of the line I never wrote.
The last night of a waning moon is this night’s memory
cradling in its thin hand the entire darkness
of what we almost cannot see and so pretend
is not there even as what never happened
pulls us back like moonlight through winter trees.
Stay awake to watch. You have only twenty five thousand seconds
to read this before you wake up remembering that
I never wrote it, brimming with loss and a poem that
started with How does the waning moon still rise?
Warm Breeze, Mid-Afternoon in Mid-Winter
At the walnut tree’s highest reach
the day’s breeze sets twigs and thin branches
tense like frantic lost messages, last waves goodbye
but the slur slows through the random knots
and twists of the limb structure and’s spread asunder
further in by the outward-reaching limbs and widening
resolve of main branches to the absolute breaking
of leftover negative space: down where I am, humming
a tune I heard my beloved sing and will not forget,
just my voice in the quiet, here at the trunk where all is still.