Poem with Two Stairwells
Back and forth, an old stone wall
falling. Ghost of chimney smoke.
Rain is light, sunlight streams under grass.
Trucks full of produce, how green
spills over fences and churchyards.
With pebbles you may.
Hummingbird hands, you have
found wind, bulbs buried so long
ago. And the smoke. A carriage
spurs. Sorry, I cannot.
I too will write loss. I will
sit at its opaque table.
Like this the forest untangles,
the wheat grows high, and the stars
shatter. Kneel with the brambles,
the daughters of June. A line of girls,
hair wreathed in lilies. Bells
and streetcars burn. Noises other
than water. The fields understand
night, the unerring hush and rise.
Tuesday is gardenless. Overturned trash
cans, cement drying silently, a mattress
blocks the side walkway. Squirrels flick toilet
brush tails. The dead mouth of a possum.
Another day for the unpoetic. An unpoet
combs stiff, unrhymed hair, takes a good swig
of warm diet cola, the least poetic soft drink. One
river refuses to spill worn silk, to brim and swell
across lanterned bridges, doorways. Water never
reaches rock. Hereís no place for marsh skullcaps, blue
wood asters. The fledgling moon wonít crouch
in dark trees; the earthís one satellite mutters, center
sky. Day three, unremarkable goodbye; sunset loses
meter, torn and swallowed by an old slipcover, daisies
plump the once-monostiched sofa. Half-finished
basement. Outside a highway rest stop, starlings smear
the short trees. They strive and strive to become traffic.
The way to begin is not to.
Let the words rain down like summer hail.
Drown in the rising peat
smoke as crag melts to clover,
the dust of alder and mountain ash,
and then breathe water lilies and sweet grass.
Donít be too deliberate; lime trees
wonít cluster where the rusting
train tracks narrow. Never
consciously decide which fork to follow;
pursue each barn owl through brief darkness,
the space inside light. The sun
should be an old peach, swollen and infinite,
or a faded lion that shakes
its mane, matted between tight bars of night.