In the Black Kitchen

It begins early, arc crumbling over the yard with its salt bird baths.
Then you dream of the banister gleaming, your hand
from atop the stairs gripping a tiny casket. Heat gathers above the
   local graveyard
that dusts so resolutely the young men's shoes with its flags.
This is where the shadows meet the white wall. Since
you were a boy you've moved unmolested right through them.
But you are never alone. You are never without the crumbs
your father scraped off your black toast. The whiter the appliance
the rounder its corners. The reflections on the floor are cut into many
   small pieces.
There's nowhere to hide. He keeps looking in the window at you.

The Black Bass

My hand became my father's hand 
that day, 
for a second or two, as I lifted the fish, and I could feel his loneliness, 
my father's, like mine,

a horse in a stall spooked by guttering candles, 
the popping and black smoke, the quivering flanks.

And if a horse, in its loneliness, couldn't manage 
to speak, what difference did it make? 
What could he say? Tell a flickering candle Burn true?

Then I thought of my mother, standing in a field with flames 
in her hair. She was surrounded by deer, statues
in a circle around her.

Born Late

A block of soap
carved to look like Pan

and that's just what came in the mail

a volcano under those flip flops

kisses spilling off the water-wheel

Green becomes a stillness leftover in the late-born effluence
of a decade's worth of smoke and flat beer

(I can't get any air)

because there was no acoustic guitar

just dust scraped off an anxious moth's wings

Suffering the Unattainable

Large sea turtles and some whales
will outlive us, water a manifestation of wind in

   another dimension.
I had to use the shovel to hack at the wood, had to grab

a hatchet, down deep in the hole. The oak pitched around
like a ship’s mast, or I was no longer alive; perhaps I was yet

    to be
all over again, though I kept recalling your name. The verdurous roots.