November hymnal (15) / November dream warning
“Get ready for a mix of disappointments over
night! just after midnight some hard truth moves in
and stalls, followed by heavy accumulations
of regret, turning to desire before dawn.”
But I didn’t dream.
Instead strange birds surrounded the house
and told me how earlier a rainbow crashed
like a cold war satellite into the house next door
without a sound but the couple who live
there were playing folk music on a stage
ten miles long. They could walk from encore
to foyer in one step. We have both buried
dogs like best friends in our yards; we have
both practiced songs with windows open
and the birds squandered the pot of gold
with outlandish poker bets on the back porch
as black walnuts fell, never upsetting the game
or the oversized cards as big as pillows.
Atlantic Flyways, or, Males Never Asking for Directions
Someone tell the two Canada geese
flying up the street at quarter past nine
this November evening they are heading
to West Virginia
Cool Morning, On the Road to Work, and Later
Sparrows huddle under the car’s warm frame.
As I come back with my coffee they flow out
between the tires like a sound. Gray clouds nest
on the ridgeline. Driving into this image of sullenness
lightens me—as I pass through the opaque menace thins
to harmless mist. On the road home the light rain
drones outside the window like a distant train.
From my porch my daughter and I watch bats
sweep away the dusk. Pockets of light appear,
tuck into lamps for a few hours, then go out.
The Ancient Ones
We think we see them flying by
in a whir almost invisible
until one alights by our table
I know from the way it looks at me
that we are the ancient ones
outliving fin and hoof and claw
outliving the water’s eyes and the wings
outliving these young things our spirits
After a Moment of Silence for a Sudden Death
Who are these birds gathering the empty branches
outside my window into a tree again?
Thirty feet above the roofs of a hundred mourning cars
they wick out patterns of mid-afternoon orange and black
that amplify the slanting sun then come back to settle,
at ease, as if already new green leaves protected them.
As if all our thoughts about our departed colleague
had gathered outside to look back at us, prepare
as memory does for flight, disperse to the future
wherever winter thoughts fly to in spring beyond sight