Tag Archives: JS

Song Sung to The Mothers

flowermoon

Song Sung to The Mothers

You are the gate and the path leading away.
Not the nest but the many things

The nest was made from. Built of mud
And moonlight. Without you nothing

Can bond or find its way through darkness.
The mistakes of recognition were all ours:

That you are immortal and unchanging.
The nest by our feet on the path

Is the one we built of such dead twigs.
At night when I sleep it is to the song

My mother sang in the trees before
I was born as the moon pulled

My empty soul across the water

Before the Moon

Before the Moon

My boy’s breathing is fine. The moon is late rising,
The palm of night presses down. A few stars.

As eyes close the pressure inside and outside
The eyelid equalizes like the pressure inside

And outside the house. The house sees nothing too.
The wind like Zhu Xi sees nothing and begins

To investigate things with clarity. A few windy
Mornings ago I drove my son to the hospital

After he could not stand up because of the pain.
The night pressed in on the windows of the car.

Though it was perfectly still outside my panic
Drove the air into my resisting frame.

Zhu Xi was so still and undisturbed
He could have been lying against my windshield

And I would have seen right through
Him whispering knowledge and action

Are indivisible. After morphine and the three
Incisions, after the handcuffed prisoner

Who swallowed metal things was rolled out
Of the ER, after the appendix, vestigial

Like a scholarly appendix, was removed
Zhu Xi was an untouched cup of coffee.

A still Saturday morning parking lot.
Days later I am still there. Zhu Xi

In the back seat because you are
Beside me. Zhu Xi pressed against

The bedroom window like a giant moth
We look through waiting for the moon

Through closed eyelids to appear on
His wing. My son’s breathing is fine.

Late Winter Dream

Late Winter Dream

How long has it been since the mail has delivered your thoughts to me?
Now in a package no larger than a driver’s license I find

Hundreds of small notes pressed together into a block of paper, a sediment
Like stamps stuck together. It has been at least seven years since

I drove 700 miles to take your car keys away after you got lost driving home
From a church ten minutes from your house and beached your car

On a concrete island between lanes of traffic.Safe but too shaken to be sorry.
Pop couldn’t do it, my brother and sister couldn’t do it, they were too close.

They all stayed in RI. You would not have given those keys to anyone else
And we all knew that and it’s why I love you. Because when I asked you knew,

Some part of you, that it was the beginning of losing everything.
I remind myself that this is a dream, this package of your words, but I know that

Everything you haven’t been able to say, your language slowly leaking from you,
Is in this small block of handwriting, and I know that as I begin to cry

Surely it will wake up my wife, who will then wake me in order to pull me
Out of a nightmare, and with my waking I will leave behind that palm

Full of your words, which I will never get a chance to read.
It would not matter if they made no sense. I would understand them.

The man who will die

cloudscape

The man who will die

Some day oh daughter, resting next to me
You will hear the breath of the man

Who will die. One day, not today, you will see
In my eyes finally the glance of a person

Who will not live forever as I saw once
In my father’s gaze, still piercing

But unable to break a veil of loneliness miles
Away where his wife sat up suddenly

Remembering only his name and not
Those of her sons or daughters. As I heard in her

Breath of resignation one day when words
Would not come and the unsayable sentence

Dropped over her head like a hangman’s hood.
But not this breath. Though for several years

I have heard it in my own breathing
Or seen it in the eyes studying me in the depth

Behind the mirror, I will keep these from you
As long as I can. And someday, not today,

When you see them you will say nothing,
Thinking surely you did not hear what you heard

Or saw what you saw. But I will know, though
I will already have begun to forget why.

Meditation on an empty field

Meditation on an empty field

The winter field’s as many colors as kinds of loss.
It gets no bigger but grows every year.

There’s still sweet green, scuffed gold, brown verging
On yellow. Things beneath with code for new color.

Where the digging root took deep hold, maple and oak:
Identifying grief is like recognizing trees in winter

In this season of missing. Look closely.
There are months to learn them all. The wind

through this one is my name, your voice.