The evenings have all come at the same
Time. We were reading quietly
In our rooms, some of us were forgetting
Archetypes. Things as simple as dawn,
Swords, the fish beneath the ice.
Soon they were all over the place
As if that was all that remained.
Men and women sat on benches and steps
And wept to themselves feeling something
Unexpected had happened.
The evenings had always been here, hurrying
Back and forth across our lives,
In the mirrors of the days.
We were supposed to treasure them,
Find a haven for them, share
Them with friends as a kind of meal,
Sit across from them smiling
As inconceivable as this may seem.
My dear sister, we have removed the body
Of our brother from the floor
To which he was welded by his blood
That never was supposed to escape his shell
But did and poured from his mouth
As he fell against the heavy door
To his quiet room of books and prayers
And small pages upon which he had written
Moments in his life that seemed to him
As possibly important or of some
Insight into how the world might
Be seen until that moment when the dream
Vacated its miles of rivers and streams
Through heart and lungs and muscles,
Flew past his eyes and frightened
A mourning dove crouched on the
Windowsill pecking at some insect on the glass
When he saw it lift its wings and abandon
Its small roost the selfsame moment he abandoned
His own roost. The air lifting beneath
The gray dove’s wings and likewise coming
From his lungs one final time
Till every stream was dry and his shell
Lost its perfect spirit in a cry.
Shall I make a pile of these skulls
That later someone may know the living
Came here once again, building
A vocabulary for later days,
After the battles had long been forgotten?
And the plow turns up leg
Bones and spines as we till
To plant the Winter wheat.
Would that all the land were pure,
All work an exact language
That allows us to speak to Paradise,
Finding it cool and comfortable,
Locked in its own literature,
Much too abstract for
Us to figure out, making more
Than the loaves of bread we make
From it, dissolving the flowers
Every blessed day brings to our table?
Yes you have seen this animal
Once before, maybe even more
But it was when you were young
And could believe it real,
See its claws and teeth,
Imagine it at night slipping
Through the forest, headed
For the light of the long house,
Peering in the windows, moving on the roof,
Pretending to be the lion or the
Bear and we convince ourselves;
No, nothing is there, just fear.
The crackling of wood in the fire.
You have captured all the shadows.
Yet it is back again tonight when you
Wear old age and understand
Bloodstains, have come to believe
All fictions are golden, even this one.
THAT THE MOON COULD TASTE
Of salt because of a line
I read from Borges after
Midnight when my skin would not
Let me sleep for itching and
The wind dead, dead around
The house caught in the middle
Of October and more than willing
To bring me down. ‘We do
Not recognize you,’ say the days.
So much is unexplained at this time
Of year, pumpkins bright as so
Much punctuation, the wind
Writing with leaves in all the streets.
And now, the dark will prevail
Pushing hard into the day. ‘More night,
More night,’ it says but I cannot
See who is speaking or to whom
And shy away from asking anything,
As from a hammer’s blow.
I saw him just today and now he is
The past. I saw him on his horse
As white as snow and his sword was silver
And flashed in the cold sunlight
Before noon, steam blowing
From the nostrils of that great horse
As it wheeled and turned as if
Part of the man himself.
Now he is shade. Now his horse is shade.
Now the spirit that lived inside
That sword is also shade and they
Blow down the streets of dust
At this hour and I look to them
To once again be so perfect,
So brave in battle and green as trees.
But this talk grows old even
In its telling and looses itself
In our eyes as simply more dust.
What shall we call real?
The first barn had been
There since 1843.
When it burned down
To the ground
You could still see it there
For years afterward.
I used to keep stars
In my pockets. I heard
That poets could do that
And not get burned.
MOON IN A WINDOW
The full moon got caught
In a single pane of glass in the
Upstairs bedroom window. The
Last I looked, it was still there,
Bumping the mullions
Like an object in a video game.