The storm that was a pause between things
Unmoving white sky, after two hours of sleep.
Like a view for the morning after you die:
No color, no sound. Only the rhythm of dogs
Breathing at the foot of the bed, those animals
To whom death, like life, is just passing weather.
The snow has fallen or is yet to fall but is not falling.
Two ages like thick glass tectonic plates
Clasped me as they passed against each other.
One an age in which I existed, the other
Where I was absent. I could not see
the difference. So little would change,
So little that had to happen for the morning
To come no matter what. That is when
The dogs left me. We are not alone in death
But we are alone in despair. Numbness coming
In from the arms and legs toward the heart.
The brain a battering ram turned inwards.
Then I slept. So many things we can’t control
That happen anyway. The memory of deer
in the backyard the dawn before. The deer
Themselves. The paths that brought them
To nibble at a birdfeeder the day before a storm.
The winter rain is unhappy drifting against the window
It cannot come in it is too light to knock or ask
Beyond a whisper in the puddles which the mud steals
As its own only long enough for the steps to take it up
So we know whether the steps are coming here
Or to a there in a different direction going away in the silent rain
The snow though voiceless collects its silence upward
To visibility the shape of a voice without argument
This is the source of the grudge the steps carry away
This is why we are frightened as the steps come
From nowhere on a quiet morning when nothing
Should be arriving but the day a few minutes earlier
But here they come after the quiet winter rain
In the minutes surprised at how new the world is
seconds still falling like rain too soft
to cry out after slipping on a dream
Of ice on the heel of waking on these longer days
Warm Breeze, Mid-Afternoon in Mid-Winter
At the walnut tree’s highest reach
the day’s breeze sets twigs and thin branches
tense like frantic lost messages, last waves goodbye
but the slur slows through the random knots
and twists of the limb structure and’s spread asunder
further in by the outward-reaching limbs and widening
resolve of main branches to the absolute breaking
of leftover negative space: down where I am, humming
a tune I heard my beloved sing and will not forget,
just my voice in the quiet, here at the trunk where all is still.