They’ve come back the leaves
Though they are all different this time
Their shadows are ancient heartbeats
Hands on the breath of memory
I have seen you exhausted from your efforts
Seasons sleeping in the guitar on your breast
The crickets whispering for the first time this year
A dog’s lonely bark from blocks away
I have seen you joyous and quiet
Smooth stone on the riverbed of night
There’s a sound in your bones
Harmonizing with your daughter
An image developing across your ribs
Your boy wading across the shallows
Leaves drifting past his ankles
It’s been half a year the leaves are different
And a year’s a long time
And every spring is tender
Friday, near midnight
Put a penny on the day’s good eye.
Cars parked in the road after dinner
Tick like patient bombs. Each interval
Lengthens toward silence
Like the stems of peonies
Slow their sprint to the May sky.
While we were not looking
One terminal bud becomes
a thousand pennants waving
In tight but unpracticed formation.
Or it is a signal, a coded message
Saying this kingdom will never come
Again. Overhead an unbroken line
of streetlights blinks, then holds
Like an eye chart that wants to help
You but loses sense as you gain focus.
Dandelion Patch by the Elementary School, Early May, 7:50 a.m.
They pluck them from the ground and smash
Them soundlessly on another’s head or back
What floats off their violence like a helicopter’s
Skeleton? Lighter than an elementary school
Morning. Directionless as a flying fifth grader.
Wish wands are what they call them. Why would you break
A wish on a boy’s stubborn neck as he tries to twist
Away? On the shoulder of the girl who’s too fast
For you to catch? They don’t wait for the fractured
Moon to pop free of its stem. When the field grows
Quiet I look up at the great yellow flower. If I wait
Long enough it will turn white and fragile against
The dark. I’ll meet you at the base of its hollow
Column, or wait till the wind dismisses me.
Tarot Basics for Late-Night Walks
All things being equal
I will take the eight of swords.
The lady in my dreams sits up the tree
A ways next to the star. The card
For the eight of swords has only four edges
But each is a double edged sword
So you should keep it in your pocket
When approaching trees in dreams.
Five Devastating Kicking Techniques
Sit down into the kick
And spread out until you are irresistible.
Hold a single moment mid-kick
Perfectly balanced and do
Not move the rest of your life
Winter Weather Warning kick
Promise vengeance. Promise no mercy.
Then walk softly and meekly past.
Then kick a week later.
Turn your kick into soft raindrops
That hurt nobody. Immediately
A million small green kicks emerge.
People come outside and beg to be kicked.
Kicking the habit is
Just another kick.
Landscape, mild February night, with parked car in lot by field and trees and second smaller landscape closer than it appears
Mid-dusk turns gray green; image on an old TV.
The shadow on a rock thrown by the lot’s
Halogen lights lands with jumpy dog stillness.
Wind spills through lowered windows unevenly
Like coffee in a cup after a sudden brake spills,
Returns, spills again. Go out eleven steps
Into the woods and the dead leaves hanging
On the tree are wilder than the dead leaves
On the tree in the school parking lot. The wind
Passing through them has a different accent.
From a driver’s seat you can look backward
Without moving your head. Without thinking.
You imagine a speeding car coming up beside
You, too late to stop moving into the same lane.
The future can keep only one of you intact.
But blink and it is only three trees, on the lot’s
Far edge, in some complex leafless interaction
With the rest of the world which has no idea
How much they see. Don’t take those gestures
For scenery. They have been waiting here
A hundred years to warn you that the past is
Speeding up and passing you on the left.
The width of the white wall
On either side of six
Inches of air is all
You to the ground
You to the past
Monsters wait at the margins.
Tackling anything head-on
If everything I do when
Awake if everything
Good is the dream time
I call you
To tell me I’m wrong
Because I could
Not dream you