Winter begins in the stones. In a dream the sky house
gets closer as if it is trying to hear a secret or tell me one
but when I can read its lips I see it is just pretending.
In the car: stones from a trip to the beach.
A thousand miles from where we found them
for months they have rested in a drink holder
with no discernible nature acting on them,
no car tides or car gulls have hampered their stillness.
Now when we pick them up on a drive we marvel
at how cold they are on this mild first day of November.
You can press them to your hand, your neck, your cheek
and they stay cold. They are telling me a secret
without moving their lips or pretending to tell me anything.
They are coming closer without moving, like snow clouds.
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.
Driving Down the Mountain After Dusk
Dusk is finally gone but it has left a mark on the dark green slopes
like pencil has been rubbed over everything
You know there are trees there pines and oaks maples others
but now all you can verify is that it’s a hill with the disposition
of trees or a tendency towards treeness but it’s too dark
to prove the trees are there and we’re moving too fast
following a line we can’t see the end of but which we know
ends before daylight
In the foothills by the one road
leading up a mockingbird leaps
into shortlived flight from grass to low
branches: on its fully extended wings
the white wing markings meet
into a lowercase “o” which is
the foothills’ song: quiet
unmarked and not to be mocked
Just put a fresh poem on the Brand New Stuff page, as we await the first light snowfall here in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains.