Before a Spring Storm
Who am I in the porch’s silence
Before the storm? A song
Of any more sense
Than mindless wind chimes?
They say merely ‘something is happening’
Good or bad it is the same thing
Until something drowns them out
Knocks them down or finishes
Happening their silence means
Not that nothing is happening
Because nothing cannot happen
Nothing is not phenomenal any
Wind chime could tell you but rather
That whatever may be
Happening is not moving them
Nevertheless they have enough
To say right now as cloud shadows
Chase light back into the sun
And knowing nothing really goes
Backwards I’m listening for the storm
To sing a song that chases
Rain faster forward into flower
Loss swells like a bruise,
making everything that’s tender
a trial: though it’s permanent, the
loss, I mean, the swelling goes
and takes the tenderness away
even when you may want just
a little to stay. Absence, though,
can inflate like a nylon balloon
on a cool spring morning: filled
with warm emptiness absence takes you
Above it all, floats you over the impasse
that seemed impossible to cross
on foot, shifts perspective to higher
thoughts: here in this basket
of bewilderment and wonder,
you can stay with me even
a little longer than we thought.
On the sky press even the spaces must be set in metal
And sit above the text of dreams to print night’s pure black.
Sometimes that space like the space between us
Slips into the day and rises above the waking words
and becomes visible space. It ascends from the pull
of the moon and pushes forward like a panther,
Like a runner in a darkening wood who suddenly sees
The trees don’t block the path, they make the path.
an eye still dreaming
behind the veil of sunrise
spring’s first peony
Early spring thoughts while waiting
The reflection of two in the morning
Is the first mirror. Look into the night:
A found piece of obsidian
From the volcano inside the piano
Playing softly — only your heart hears it.
A dark screen. A dark sky. No password
To that star or the imperfections
That built around us a radiance
Invisible to all but those in the dark.
Is it any wonder the first stare
Into obsidian was unbearable,
They turned it to knives, arrowheads,
Jewelry, money. Anything but their
Selves. I am here in the dark
Inside a stone, listening to the music
Turn time’s pages. I swear
to you I will not polish this
memory into a mirror.
Late Winter Dream
How long has it been since the mail has delivered your thoughts to me?
Now in a package no larger than a driver’s license I find
Hundreds of small notes pressed together into a block of paper, a sediment
Like stamps stuck together. It has been at least seven years since
I drove 700 miles to take your car keys away after you got lost driving home
From a church ten minutes from your house and beached your car
On a concrete island between lanes of traffic.Safe but too shaken to be sorry.
Pop couldn’t do it, my brother and sister couldn’t do it, they were too close.
They all stayed in RI. You would not have given those keys to anyone else
And we all knew that and it’s why I love you. Because when I asked you knew,
Some part of you, that it was the beginning of losing everything.
I remind myself that this is a dream, this package of your words, but I know that
Everything you haven’t been able to say, your language slowly leaking from you,
Is in this small block of handwriting, and I know that as I begin to cry
Surely it will wake up my wife, who will then wake me in order to pull me
Out of a nightmare, and with my waking I will leave behind that palm
Full of your words, which I will never get a chance to read.
It would not matter if they made no sense. I would understand them.
The body in stillness has its own song
For hands alone to hear
Stone in shadow and wing-beat of swallow
Collarbone and the pulse behind the ear
The absence of fear of touch is a voice
That only lips can read
The eyebrow of remembering arches
comes slowly down