Tag Archives: loss

Higher Things

Higher Things

Loss swells like a bruise,
inhibiting movement,

making everything that’s tender
a trial: though it’s permanent, the

loss, I mean, the swelling goes
and takes the tenderness away

even when you may want just
a little to stay. Absence, though,

can inflate like a nylon balloon
on a cool spring morning: filled

with warm emptiness absence takes you
Above it all, floats you over the impasse

that seemed impossible to cross
on foot, shifts perspective to higher

thoughts: here in this basket
of bewilderment and wonder,

you can stay with me even
a little longer than we thought.

When there are stars

stauntonTrainstation

When there are stars

The train is always departing
Or skidding through without stopping.

Because the crows blend in to the night sky
They lose their right to complain

If a thought intrudes on the view.
The thought– it wakes you in the night

After the candle has guttered into its glass
And the house is a helmet too small to wear

When there are stars. The thought’s engine
Is fierce but its tracks have already been laid,

It will go right on by whether consciousness
Stands by with its ticket or not:

When the train wakes me in the dark
I think of people I know, the cost

Of their freight, of a mile of empty cars
Pushing through the darkness with dust

Their only passengers. In the morning
The crows stomp their feet soundlessly

But can finally speak again, about everything
They saw when their eyes were closed

And they slept above the earth, like the stars
We do not see during the day. About

An empty train and what it used to carry.

Vanishing Tracks (I)

Vanishing Tracks (I)

On my journey home
the clouds obscure the one road up the mountain
like gods who long
since forgetting what they have made
come this way again
recognizing nothing

A hundred hazard lights blinking
of strangers slowing through that veil
could be seen from a distance
as some kind of worship

A half hour later
the clouds will be gone the road will not remember
they were ever here

On the mountain’s other side
I see them again
three heads on the sky’s coins
all looking away
and then again above the valley floor ahead of me
a tail of a giant sea creature twelve miles long
diving into the horizon

I can bear the gods forgetting all they have made
until they no longer exist
even in memory
and have made nothing
how much heavier though is your forgetting
because I know you
did what the gods could not

Still I will follow these vanishing tracks

*

Note: The three title poems from my 2011 book Vanishing Tracks, and another poem entitled “Sestina, with Christmas Lights,” were written in honor of my mother, who at the time of their composition had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but was still living with my father. These poems, of course, are about memory, family, the sacred nature of motherhood, loss, and loss suffered across a family in a manner that is keenly unique but which impacts the rest of your life’s views on everything, from identity to suffering to love.