Tag Archives: emptiness

First hour of Good Friday


First hour of Good Friday

Stained glass star, muted by night.
The magic has been done and waits

In a simple ceramic container,
In a tall cloaked pitcher alongside

A white, unevenly melting candle as
Wide as my palm in the dark church.

The structure is still settling, plank
By plank, in every pew or overhanging

Arch, like we’re inside the ribs of a beast
Deep underwater. Under pressure that

Would kill us if we faced it alone.
Only us and the waiting god

Who’s asked us to stay awake. To sit awake
While time wears the faces off all witness.

Dimmed lights crouch into the ceiling,
Emitting the hum of unreachable space.


A walk through the grocery store


A walk through the grocery store

A man, empty-handed, carries a great hole
Into the grocery store. He pushes a cart

Into which he drops vital things: bread,
Oil, wine, coffee. Brownie mix for the kids.

Nothing goes in the hole
Which he sometimes carries inside

His body, sometimes twirls absently
Like a ring too loose to safely wear

That nevertheless will not fall off his finger.
Nothing comes out of the hole though

Sometimes he thinks that’s because
Everything has already gone out of it,

It needed to be that way to be a hole
And so empty it can’t contain even darkness,

Or a single name, or the weight
Of a hand on his back, the sound

Of water being turned off, the wing
Beats of an unseen bird, the as yet

Unknown cost of everything in the cart

Conversations (XX) — to the emptiness

Conversations (XX) — to the emptiness

You remember the space between branches.
You remember being the last leaf.

You remember them slipping away in the wind
but the wand of the universe held you twisting.

You remember accepting the wind’s tongue
Making its voice the only voice others heard

And thought was yours.
And the wind’s tongue turned you over until

You were facing a different space between
Branches and saw twisting there one other

Leaf who had heard on stillest nights in early
Winter your true voice all along

Another Reason Why I Wish the House Next Door Had Not Sold, Though It Is Still Abandoned

Another Reason Why I Wish the House Next Door Had Not Sold, Though It Is Still Abandoned

Out my second story window I would see great branches
flowing from an unseen maple’s trunk, striding on the air

to the roof of the house next door.
A month ago two men climbed the tree

to the roof. I watched them slowly saw, saw away
anything they could reach. The new view’s an old metal roof

snow sliding down its creases, winter’s white sky
and a single wren on the tip of tender branch up

where saws could not reach. I used to see squirrels,
a dozen in an hour, traveling branches like highways;

now while I don’t see anything I still hear them
in the gutter over my own window.  But I keep looking

where they used to be: the deepest view an empty one

Under the New Moon There Is A Quiet Layer of Cloud And Beneath That The Coldest Day of the Winter Turns To The Coldest Night

Under the New Moon There Is A Quiet Layer of Cloud And Beneath That The Coldest Day of the Winter Turns To The Coldest Night


Any enclosed space is a temple. While we turned away
the sky came down and delivered news of the moon,

it hangs there just above the trees, a white ceiling
glowing from the light of streetlamps below, it waits

folded like a newspaper delivered but not yet read,
thicker and more important seeming than it will be

when it’s picked through and thinned out
and in some cases like my dad used to do tied in knots

and thrown in the fireplace with kindling where
burning it rises through the cloud’s cold floor

and brings news of the hidden world to the new
moon in its temple of absence

Midwinter Dream Fragments

Midwinter Dream Fragments


A silent movie walks into a bar.
Far off to the east  fragments of cloud

hover in the foreground, closing credits. The clear blue sky
revolves behind them like a child’s picture lamp

before it catches on fire. But the sky does not move.

Only the clouds are moving, their vacancy signs
flashing as they pass the moon.

Morning, After the Ice Storm

Morning, After the Ice Storm


The bluejay’s query from the previous twilight
hangs in the mostly empty air between branches.

On a brown maple leaf last night’s tear
has still not fallen. Though in a few hours

this moment will be gone like all the others
even grief sometimes has to wait its turn




The end of the stem
is where a flower starts. At the end

of a ragged leaf a sated bug steps.
The end of the trunk is where the tree

plunges past seeing and the roots’ ends
commence the purest conversion.

The river turns out on the ocean,
the sky turns over the bowl of stars

with no end to the spilling space.

Seen in an Almost Empty Elementary School Parking Lot One November Afternoon at Four-Thirty

Seen in an Almost Empty Elementary School Parking Lot One November Afternoon at Four-Thirty


Through the honest tree limbs a hundred vultures float
like a cloud of gnats. No like the floating ashes of burning leaves.

No as they get closer I see they are stitching something
into the air, shape of a common hunger borne aloft

and visible only through this inscribing of individual
wills in contrast and in wind, swirling like the last

sip of wine in a glass, up, down, settle, rinsed away,
all just a matter of perception of a form against

its temporary constraint, not ever really part of your
moment when it continues on, or ceases holding

your own thought against the edges of your world
as if the world was something to hold your drink

or your memories, or even your body in its form
perceived from two hundred feet up and a quarter

of a mile away as something too big to land on and eat.