Unrecognized local number texting
‘Why did you change to “might come”
this weekend?’ I froze. Daydreaming
Of visiting my father on his 85th birthday.
Death’s number is always local, no
Matter how far away he seems.
And yes, he saw my mother fall,
Perforated inside, and went into the
Woods with eyes half seeing,
To the retired cop’s house for help.
And sometimes I see him there
Among the scrub oak, out
Of options, unsure, trying to lead
Death away from the house
And that was the time I came.
Everything will be defeated
Every thing we thought we needed
Last day of May, first night of fireflies.
All the details of the day a blur and flicker.
Try to catch one and you’ll miss the all of it.
Look up and the leaves have turned black.
The sky pale as a wet cloth absorbs their dark.
The bat caroms off air with a voice we can’t hear
And at ground level the day stays a little longer
All that little lightning and no thunder.
Almost too slow for the eye, the lowcountry marsh
bends against the new season’s subtle color.
Above the snowline the years startle:
the flick of the starling’s iridescent wing.
Autobiography of Yes
Speak honestly with me — I am no decision.
I am an acknowledgment like a leaf landing
on the reflection of what it fell from acknowledges
it is not rejoining the tree but starting a new life
afloat on the agreeable other, unreflective,
its shape an utterance spreading out, unstoppable.
On a Manila Envelope I Once Tried Unsuccessfully to Borrow
The contents matter less than the request
though I didn’t know what I was asking for,
that I was licked, inside my own opacity
unaware the asking was my only honesty
from Spring Songs (12)
Midnight. In a corner of a room
a few days away, a half century crouches.
In the dark the corners of the years round up
certainty into the smooth black mast
against which direction flaps without words,
a trunk removed from its roots.
In the morning it is the maple and its shadow
unwinding along riverways of air and light.
The maple is old but the leaves always young,
the hours of the year, the half million
minutes through which we extend and end,
define the canopy of entirety itself by the shape
of what we miss. We shed time but are shaped by it;
wine on a quiet night, before crickets.