The Mays

The Mays

 

I walked in the scattering
shadows beneath scrub

oak those Mays each step
Compacting years whose

Deaths I’d not earned
Such leverage from

Toward wild blueberries
And the cairns of earth

Behind the drive-in past
Hokum Rock Road and

Its eponymous stone dropped
By god or glacier– if names

Went the other way I didn’t
Care — if the stone dropped

The god and abandoned
There it turned to stone it

Hardly mattered — all the Mays
Sweetened to summers

The water warmed in the bay
And at the drive-in the boundaries

Of story cut corners of moonlight
Now decades later and deaths

Cantilevered one on the other
And anticipating the next step

After messages passed while
Thunder flexed against the rainless

Night comes a quiet whisper
In the trees reminding me

Of rumors in the scrub oak dark
The unvisited stone cracked

Down the middle a gap a child
Of a dozen Mays could leap

Squinting like a dimming eye
That’s earned all it’s seen

Rock before names eyes before
The warming waters

May’s riot

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May’s riot

The sun was a mirror with an image of you
Painting a picture of the sun which was my eye.

The turtle like a moon sliding beneath a horizon
Of lilypad, the day’s thin layer skimming aside

For memory’s bulk to submerge
To the murky safety of living matter.

The slaughter of peonies behaved as you passed
Then carried on with May’s riot

The green volume

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The green volume

April is soft green and spiders.
The wind has its green voice back,

Alphabet of letters all looking alike
And green gravediggers burying

The brown memories
Before they can be missed.

Flowers set upon each other
Like dogs or wolves we’ve not seen

Since first in love we glimpsed
A world to taste and tear apart.

Meanwhile in yet to happen May
All green darkens like a banker’s visor

As sun slants beyond a high Wednesday
Afternoon window. Counting coin for June.

The other May’s the underside of maple,
Adding dimension, staying light, twisting

Minutes, filling the green volume.

First hour of Good Friday

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First hour of Good Friday

Stained glass star, muted by night.
The magic has been done and waits

In a simple ceramic container,
In a tall cloaked pitcher alongside

A white, unevenly melting candle as
Wide as my palm in the dark church.

The structure is still settling, plank
By plank, in every pew or overhanging

Arch, like we’re inside the ribs of a beast
Deep underwater. Under pressure that

Would kill us if we faced it alone.
Only us and the waiting god

Who’s asked us to stay awake. To sit awake
While time wears the faces off all witness.

Dimmed lights crouch into the ceiling,
Emitting the hum of unreachable space.

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Guest from the past, ghost from the future

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Guest from the past, ghost from the future

Here inside my body is a table for all time.
From some place in the future my ghost arrives,

Disoriented, not remembering how or when
I died but carrying a newspaper that sat

On the grass throughout the night I expired,
Saturated with dew or rain, does it matter,

And now all the words are gathered so close
from both sides of all pages, the odd and the even,

they form a single unreadable sentence.
There are no chairs around the table because

Ghosts don’t need chairs and the guest
From the past is not welcome anyway. He will be here

Any moment, even though I lied about when
Things would start, that’s how early he always is,

The past is never late. I invite him hoping my ghost
Will scare him, make him understand his end

Is inevitable. But of course he can’t change.
I end up scaring myself, my coffee goes cold.

By the time the news is dry it’s not worth reading.
This is the best table I could imagine, too, all wood,

Like the big table where Melville wrote Moby Dick
In the middle of the room on the second floor

Of a landlocked house with a view of Mt Greylock.
I can hear the turtle in the alarm flexing his muscle

And the morning air rushing in. Everything
Will be the same next time I visit, except me.

The storm that was a pause between things

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The storm that was a pause between things

Unmoving white sky, after two hours of sleep.
Like a view for the morning after you die:

No color, no sound. Only the rhythm of dogs
Breathing at the foot of the bed, those animals

To whom death, like life, is just passing weather.
The snow has fallen or is yet to fall but is not falling.

Two ages like thick glass tectonic plates
Clasped me as they passed against each other.

One an age in which I existed, the other
Where I was absent. I could not see

the difference. So little would change,
So little that had to happen for the morning

To come no matter what. That is when
The dogs left me. We are not alone in death

But we are alone in despair. Numbness coming
In from the arms and legs toward the heart.

The brain a battering ram turned inwards.
Then I slept. So many things we can’t control

That happen anyway. The memory of deer
in the backyard the dawn before. The deer

Themselves. The paths that brought them
To nibble at a birdfeeder the day before a storm.

Snow moon

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Snow moon

Not the owl whose short questions are strung
On this line of dark hours like rosary beads.

Not the cloud’s cold eyelid closing over
The near-empty parking lot in each of our minds.

What drove you there and what were you trying
To buy on such a night when the moon arcs away

Like the last snowball you threw at a friend
You outgrew without knowing? They both faded,

They both landed somewhere beyond sight.
Not the short-tempered ladder to memory.

The night’s too wide to haunt. But for a few
Moments, it opened its eye to look at you

And swept across your life without noticing:
Who you missed, who you hit, how cold

Your hands were when it took shape.
And an idea drifted down un-owned

And clung to you like frost, an owl flown,
A string of prayers creased by doubt.