Easy enough to call the contraband
Memory but is it? We didn’t mean
To find ourselves at the border
Of the moment with unexplained
Stuff in our bags. Mood altering
Substance. Clouds move away
Inexorable as a tango. The earth
Rolls us forward with everything
Every hour’s hand has held.
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.
A man wakes in a hotel room
In an unfamiliar time zone. He has all his memory
and yet he carries nothing with him from that time.
Like the new summer from the spring he is all effect and no cause.
Outside in the dark he walks as if on the floor of a great sea.
But the ground plants have sucked all the water from the place
And have taken on a strange bristly beauty as if floating upwards.
Opening his mouth to say a name the word dries on his tongue.
One hundred and eleven degrees: three above auspicious.
Of the river his lover grew up alongside and the low-tide’s waves
Of the bay he knew as a child he hears nothing. But he hears
a message as when a great wave has washed over you
And floating in the foam you find a scrawled message
from the past forecasting that a wave is about to crash.
The hotel swallows the moon like a horizon.
One lizard on a row of stones.
Mid-day coffee, garden path northeast of Phoenix
Sun is a small white speck on the liquid’s curving edge
Halfway down the paper cup. In the depths
The trees are turning, turning on the caramel sky
That has already consumed half the day.
Wakefulness branches out across the surface
Of consciousness.Inside the hotel, thousands
Of my colleagues are putting a lid on such thoughts
To walk quickly to the next meeting. I will leave
It all uncovered, walk more slowly than I need,
Carry the sky inside like an open notepad.
Full Moon and Firefly, early June
in my backyard in an hour’s calm breath
a lifetime of moons can flash in and out
of memory too many to count how many
might we get meanwhile a found penny
rolls slowly copper color up
this one slow night’s dark spine
Last day of May, first night of fireflies.
All the details of the day a blur and flicker.
Try to catch one and you’ll miss the all of it.
Look up and the leaves have turned black.
The sky pale as a wet cloth absorbs their dark.
The bat caroms off air with a voice we can’t hear
And at ground level the day stays a little longer
All that little lightning and no thunder.
Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May
After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered
Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away
After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping
It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more
On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now
For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing
And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer
One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down
The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada
Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything
That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days
We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again