Turning to watch you leave,
I see we must always walk toward
other rooms, river of heaven
between two office buildings.
Orphaned cloud, cioppino poppling,
book spined in the open palm. Unstoppable light.
I think it is all right.
Or do tonight, garden toad
a speaking stone,
young sound in an old heart.
Annul the self? I float it,
a day lily in my wine. Oblivion?
I love our lives,
keeping me from it.
John 20: 11–18
In this marrow season,
trunks tarnished, paused,
I am garden. Am before.
Asleep. Then the changes:
placental, myrrhed. Wet hem
when you appeared.
What did your body ever have
to do with me? In my astonished mouth,
enskulled jawbone guessed,
though as yet I didn’t know you.
You sprung. You now intransitive,
tense with heaven.
Gardener, which of us said do not touch.
Which one of us was undressed?
Never to belong again to wings
that lifted, to heart,
to blood’s forsaking bodice:
this lyric forceps,
felled flèche d’amour,
furcular picked and dried
with earthy feints of sage
& fused with remnant gristle—
clavicles tongued, now thumbed,
of a hard year. Why not,
then, after giving thanks,
break it, too—
talismanically? What good
is loss starved forever after?
To keep from freezing,
even a priest might commit
the Virgin’s statue to the flames.
New Year’s Eve
Two sisters side by side,
benched at the gleaming fin
of the living room’s out-of-tune baby grand,
work out a mash-up, Adele’s “Hello”
& Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,”
Hello, it’s me. . . , Heathcliff, it’s me, it’s Cathy,
voices by turns treble, then cemetery-dusked,
meandering, & hungry
as the sinew-tracks of moles
sponging December’s yard,
painted mouths of iced puddles,
branchless leaves snaring the window
with inhuman gale.
One swallows this heavy beauty,
rolls the mordent perfume
back to bloom as the other slips out
of autumn’s whalebone stave, descant.
They sing as if still girls. As if before
love’s scarlet evidence, & not, like the year,
the trees, already moved, moved through.