You will never be at anchor.
There are more graves than waves at sea.
We sail through our dead with every step
And honor the skill of dead-reckoning — figure out
where you are from where you’ve been —
Always a looking-back. Just ahead
Of the breastbone, like cartilage that catches
Flight, is the curve that carves our path.
Conversations (VII) — to the distance
Cicadas, deafening in the black oak.
But invisible. Turn the mind down:
It’s a late August still life.
Above the heart’s yard, all my chattering thoughts,
An invisible chorus, can’t travel the distance.
In a mind as mild as an eight o clock sky in early June
a thought swoops by like a swallow or bat
too quick for me to identify it by flight pattern
though it’s a thought that swerves and starts
again and once again after something unseen
not a thought that travels distances well but I’m not going far
content on the porch of my consciousness
a small level space on the outside of a house
I will never enter. The breeze
in my mind comes from someplace else and the thought banks impressively
in the same way logic sometimes makes us think we have direction.
The mind sky’s crayon color is half time and half heavy air
and despite its endlessness the thoughts flying in its late afternoon light compete
for an even smaller piece of space
held by a memory the size of a twilight’s tremoring bug
something I cannot even see but something that feeds the thought —
the whole reason the thought took flight is that this is the time
the memories come out of the earth and rise;
what they are doing there I do not know. Inside my house
in each room ceiling fans are rotating just above lamps shaped like leaves.
Perhaps they are turbines of an unknown will, a helicopter fleet in reverse
trying to keep the house from flying up in the air as it eventually will
like the tiniest memory of something bigger than my life
rising into the chasm of June light.
Thoughts As I Wait for the Thunder Moon to Appear
Chuang Tzu asked, why is what the world does worth doing?
The thunder moon which I cannot see teaches me that it is unavoidable.
Regardless of all that I know and do not know, it is launched without slowing
over the clouds. As the arrival of clouds cannot be avoided, neither can the departure
of clouds. It may not be worth doing, Chuang Tzu said. And yet
it cannot be left undone. I am looking without seeing, Chuang Tzu,
and it may be enough that I am no longer looking for the moon.
In the quiet, unseeable, the small chicory flower unfolds towards dawn.
As the departure of life cannot be avoided, neither can its arrival.
When the moon’s no longer needed, clouds break open like blue petals.
icicle and full moon
one grows from its attachment
one shines in the divide
Setting Moon, with Constellations, One Night Before Its First Quarter, Late December
When the moon sinks low in the western sky
I pour a day’s memories into its gold cup
as the old rules state. Evening is cooling off
but mild, as if between myself and
the stars there is an owl flying away while at the same
time a distant unknown bird is approaching.
When they pass each other I am finding the key
in my pocket and feeling blindly for the lock.
When the cup is locked in the cupboard
of the past for another day, in the quiet house
I take out the moments I withheld from the moon
and place them in the dark above me: your hand
on my arm, your head against my shoulder.
The phone ringing. The living warmth of you
like a foreign language I can suddenly read
as words pour into the room and we listen.
To the one missing her father inexplicably on a warm day after an ice storm
Mid-morning snow after a night of sleet.
Ice is melting off the roofs, descending
faster than flakes can fall, but they go
only their own speed, unconcerned
with making up the distance