Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iv) / Skyline at dusk
I lean my head back against the transparent beach.
Starlings pull up the garland of the sky and hang it on trees.
Miniature lake, street puddle spilling sky on a tire.
Because they leap, like that boy I was
we make a leap of faith and the stars stand still–
just the illusion of motion on motion
And the moon, black like a lost penny, shining
only on the edge, has been laughed at enough
to appear a smile. The starlings sharpen
their beaks against the wheel of the hour.
Almost Silent, Almost Still
Crickets suffice for thunder tonight.
Like a leg rubbing up against another.
At the gate
Emptiness slips you a ticket to the after-party.
Conversations (VI) — to the future
With eyes closed I can hear you smile.
Your voice a place I know my way around.
Woodpeckers say goodnight the strangest way
And other birds of winter appear as singular
Leaves of gray, blue, gold on the trees
We can only see through their nakedness.
I drop your eyelids’ map of dreams:
Everything you are I still don’t know
Runs through my veins
Like the flight patterns of birds
that never have to know the route
Leaves left on the trees on a sub-freezing late November evening
Eyes closed against the wind, holding a deep breath
Until it warms, I still hear the midsummer breeze
What has made you almost smile
Gazing into the occluded space
Not knowing if it’s past
Or present looking back?
One night a year there’s a certain
Hour if I don’t say it all in time
I get to start the hour over
This time saying nothing
We know what the year’s worth
Like we know a coin from its size in our palm.
The month’s full moon. A gumball in a gumball machine.
And once in awhile, two slip out at once
Into your hands. When did the fall’s first
Cold night become a harbinger for a life
Shifting seasons? I look out there:
Not a leaf has left me. Still, if what’s ahead
Is more than loose change, you’re going
To have to get a lot closer to keep
Us both warm with what’s coming.
2:33 in the morning.
The owl screeches like a thought’s hinges.
One that keeps opening just a crack
but nobody steps through.
I turn over my pillow, squint into the dark
yard, knowing nothing will clarify.
Whatever you are thinking
I am thinking, too.
End of summer moon poem 1
Each night’s just an evening long
why should it feel like you are lost forever
just because I cannot see you where
I am looking but this overcast between us
lasts longer than reflection
Love and Sleep
We lay here on the edge with a handful
of words not knowing when it will come
upon us and knowing when it comes
(the words will be left to stand guard)
it will be without knowledge
of us and without us knowing it has come
then the skidding slippery acceleration
then the slow wholeness of a moon passing overhead
most of our memories congregate here on its borders
but are not allowed inside we remember
gaining it we remember losing it
rubbing our eyes with the shock of its absence
we lay here not wanting to forget a thing
but to enter it is to forget
the weight of everything else
we wonder sometimes what really happened
when we were there and the answer is always
much more than that happened
the loss of context that puts all into context
the details of our days all birds and sand
I have given up trying to remember anything
more detailed than that wing of a smile
but even when we know we will never lose each other
we cannot stop the alarm it is in another world after all
so here on the edge we gather with our words
the words listen for us and try to remember
while we’re gone and to hum the song
we were singing once we’re gone
–then everything else which turns off at night
is the switch that turns on the crickets
is there a thing at all in cricketsong
that means I remember
that bridges the slow heaving wave
of frozen ground between years
is there anything
by which they know they go on
do they need to when they hear
with their legs by which they leap only forward
and sing with their wings which cannot take them backward
what else must a cricket do to prove it needs
behind my house at night I forget
I am in a city the song is so loud
like the earth breathing in and out
the owl marking his territory in the pitch dark
is absorbed into the song it seems impossible
there could be as many crickets on the ground
as there are cricket voices in the air
till the sun climbs over a rock and shuts them off
in the morning which is the switch
for ten thousand starlings to fill the space
with another season–