Sunday Service, Small Town in Virginia, Late September, on the Occurrence of Emptiness
No traffic. A leaf clatters like a steed with an urgent message
then gives in to a burlesque swirl and stills itself out
of momentum. A yellow moth staggers on uneven air across the empty street.
I can walk down the middle of the road past lonely double-parked cars.
Not a soul is about. The churches are filled up with their giant doors shut
like a present I will not unwrap. The entire town is my empty prayer.
I can appreciate every curb’s lift, every curve of crumbling brick
arch on old buildings, window-shop for emptiness and find it
everywhere. Even the crow’s shadow barely skims the earth.
And a thousand yellow leaves do the moth better than the moth did.
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.
Self Portrait with Canopy of Trees, Answering an Old Zen Koan, Maybe
Two hundred thousand hands
are clapping for the rain
Note: another of a series of poems with the same title, to be scattered throughout a larger project called The Drift.
To the Tune of a Song Not Yet Written
Now we enter the season of our age
before summer’s end yellow leaves drift
haze floats between us and the foothills
still the sun is strong the rain when it comes
like the same words over and over
is not yet cold and when I look
between birds and hills I see the past
and am reminded of the future