Reading sheet music
The guitar arpeggios are the roofs of nearly identical houses
In a small village. The streets are covered in snow, no one
Goes in or out. But the temperature even at night has turned mild,
No smoke rises from the roofs, which are spotted with moonlight.
In the morning a dog runs through the alleys, pausing here and there
To check out something new. Snow slides off a roof in the morning sun.
Rolling the trash to the street, Monday night, cold rain
In the neighbor’s security spotlight, activated by my foraging,
The rain is turning to snow. No longer just the path of a motion
But the substance of a season. No longer a man in the dark
Putting out trash but, striding through the door, carrier
Of a million fragile messages of light, change, gravity.
Conversations (XVIII) — to gratitude
Morning’s lit from underneath.
It’s the scrim of snow and grass’s gauze.
Melted (like me) by a mild
Morning, by your slightest warming.
Near the End of the First Winter of My Sixth Decade
Through a brick-lined alley where I read my life’s sentence
I step over a rivulet of snowmelt that flows behind me into the past
walking with an open cup of coffee in a soft cold rain
Winter Evening, After Much Snow
Plows pound the shoreline of the storm.
When their wave has passed, the shovels
emerge like crabs and get busy. The full moon,
distant jellyfish, drifts over the becalmed buildings.
In the still summer swamp a cypress knee’s
a mountain. Behind the patient transparent lid
of danger there is not a single smooth straight
line on two hundred million years of hide.
On the hill I dump more March snow
behind my truck into a pile impenetrable as Everest
without a Sherpa. The uneven humps
of buried cars stretch ahead: back of a giant alligator,
danger lies silent on the surface of the road.
Overcast Full Moon Night, After Snow
Rain melts snow then turns
to snow: earth slides soft
then stiffens and stills
and disappears under new snow:
Clouds ride endless wind
always leaving: unseen
and unmoved by the mess
and distance, something
of you and I makes its
own slow circle above