Keep

Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night.  Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.

Thank You for Being Here

I go into the backyard. The lungs of the sky are dark. It is going to snow. The sparrows fly from the naked hedge to the naked Carolina Allspice bush. They thrum from one skeleton to another skeleton and tip and balance on the arcs and tops of branches like acrobats balancing atop poles in circuses long ago, circuses long underground. Still, the plates did spin. It is going to snow. The lungs of the sky are dark. I pour birdseed from a Big Gulp cup across the ground. The millet and sunflower seeds and whathaveyou deploy a galaxy. An edible galaxy. “Eat quickly before it snows,” I pray to the sparrow minds. And: “Thank you for being here,” I say to them, to the sky preparing to annihilate so much life. As if the rest of life were an audience and I an emcee. The illusion of a sort of control in charity. But we both know, Dear Reader, the desperation is mine. I come as beggar to them, the eating of their meal an alms to me. The sparrows live and die by cold, clean in their magnetic souls that draw them each to each, as they depart, as they arrive (no difference) through the snow.

Pond Tree

Many shadows of leaves
fall on the goldfish
in our weird pond

On their flightier school
fall shadows of yellow
leaves flighty in wind

Neurotic school of leaves
shaped like the fish
lanceolate leaves

These fish are spooked
by the sense of shadows
on their orange backs

On their sides, a weird
dappling of themselves
over themselves

They can never know
but seem to sense
how nature ghosts to selves

 

Sometimes, Often

I go to visit the forest to see if it is lonely.
I have visited it thousands of times.
The trees tower above me. I am swallowed up
as soon as I enter.
I ask the forest if it is lonely.
The mists swirl around me, old breath,
the boggy parts of ponds,
even the crickets, go dead silent,
the leaves stop their frottage orgy.

It’s never answered me once, in thousands of times.

It is a proud forest, busy hoarding death.

Complaint

I am not accomplished
Says the grass below my feet
I have no curriculum vitae
I have only my DNA
My wild successes my wild failures
Everywhere I burst into flames
People slash and burn me
Animals heedlessly dung on me
Some of those animals have MFAs
I could teach a workshop on “How to Be Grass”
But oh who would come?
Probably only other grass
That lacks the confidence to know what it is
That it’s already the same starry stuff everywhere
I would just let wind into the room to awaken it
And maybe we would do The Wave
To bring home the metachronal rhythm of all existence