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.
Conversations (XV) — to waking alone
In the morning I woke deep in conversation.
The clock is a word. My wrist reaching for air
Is a word. Blankets the words I chose not to say.
The crow saws a gust of wind and it’s a word
The hole the woodpecker leaves is a word
He was looking for but could not find.
You are speaking to me like the wind speaks bird.
The starlings slur into the walnut tree’s crown
And crisply become its dreams. Transparent.
Not a team but sticking together for survival.
A murmur, against the gust. They say
The heart sleeps on the breath of a starling.
Such a small thing can wake it. What does
Someone else’s dream dreaming look like?
The crow’s wing feather’s spread like a saw.
A sliver of iridescence against the gust.
The zipper on the polka dot
Pajamas stuck halfway down, but far enough.
The sky’s skull softened and its blue eye grew.
Where vision is so vast there’s nothing more to see.
Conversations (XIV) — to this arrival like hoarfrost
Like hoarfrost, when it comes, comes through stillness
This arrival changes the appearance of only things
Still enough to have always been there
Conversations (XIII) — to sleep
I ask you so many questions
Then I stop listening just
As you begin to answer
Conversations (XII) — to pictures I’ve not taken
Your face. The moon through the branches of days.
Morning sprouts from the top of the tree
And brings light down to earth.
Conversations (XI) — to the empty space in the tree
Don’t tell me anything: You are the tree.
In a patch of years I forgot to climb
My life turned like a leaf stem.
Even in this fragile spinning
The memories of cicadas sing.
The underground sky feeds me.
Conversations (X) — to the houses
When we are asleep, after talk and touch,
And the music of your voice, even in my mind,
Has drifted into the blanketing silence
And there is nothing left but the breathing
Of our separate souls, then the houses
Begin to sing. Across the ways out
And the ways home that only houses know
They sing, houses who’ve never seen
The other’s siding or heard rain pelt
The other’s roof, but have shared
The job of sheltering us. Their song
Builds a new house for us we will never move
Out of, a bed always comfortably unmade,
A dog growing old sleeping in the corner,
A piano by the screen door, waiting.