Romance

If you understand, it is

not perfect. The trees

do not understand. So

this antique mirror in this store

“window me,” I say,

to no one in particular

species. You are getting what

far thing from me

you need to understand

the river, I think you said

meaning someone,

maybe you, maybe not.

Old Man at Faucet

The spigot
grows dark
becomes more
becomes more itself
more happenstance
It flows relentless
less personalized
lighter
because heeded less
the sense of cold
of the water
beginning to speak
begging
louder
cold taken apart
from water
The sense of a river
behind it
the yawn
of its source
a terror thing
as the yawn
of memory
widens the mouth
of the river
where no one
stands or looks
tonight tonight
where no body is
since they are all
downstream
In another room
another house
or apartment
It is only
a clear glass
of water
in another’s
turning hand
as the fish
in the river
young
and constantly
turning

 

That Year the Great River Froze Twice, Thrust Its Bright Breakup over High Banks

We walked around them
these giants shards like shattered Baccarat
It looked like structure      it couldn’t talk
It did      talk and talk      never explain
how the river could push these out
from its body     things of its own making
It was all ice          alive from the inside
The light trying to talk
It was also the time of the great plague
When the young died without knowing how
My life was a blank movie screen
I was sitting         waiting alone
We didn’t know how to explain any of this
So we made a quilt the size of a city
People would hold red threads    in their mouths
They worked        redefine work
Great pleasure was still everywhere
Even the darkness dipped into it    from time to time
To refresh itself

Following a River

I never met you in the flesh, dear friend.
I never met you where it doesn’t matter.
I met you here, where it does. But where
is here? The nowhere of a page?
It’s only a nominal page now. The medium
has changed back to light. A form of light,
anyway. That disembodied voice can pick up
and go without you. And now it does, since you
are gone. I mean the other you. That body
out of which you were so clearly writing a way.
You never wanted it, or at least not in the way
you wanted to be here. More generous,
less real. And you are. You are those things.
Those things go off in concentric rings
from the page, or the page’s children,
where we are now, here. They go off
from here and there, at first mere echoes
but later so much more.