Quietly now a mouse in the garden
that has come to mourn with me
or bite at every insect twisting
in this heat as you lie close & uncaring
in the army of the common housefly.
Let it be known that in death
you harrowed in love & in so doing
traded your ears for blackened ones,
your crown the shade of a new moon.
Let this spell be known as the fortune
of a missing tortoise, brutal limbs
& wounds of multiples. Then, to soften
alongside the watermelon rinds
on this blighted day, your body
presently absent including the mouse
I have startled into darkness. Who will
help me love the castor bean tree now?
Which of these plants will speak for you?
Ignore me while I weave between rows,
swatting at the light I have chased into
the corner of your makeshift shed still full
of your fortune, the abundant secret
of mouse droppings. Meanwhile, stay
dressed—help me be decent. Come away
from dreams, far from streets—quick,
arise in one piece! There is shade.
Even the sun could not spoil you.
—Fresno, Spring, 2016
Every few years, miles of upturned fields skirt the city,
& the rows of trees—peach, almond, & sometimes
grapevine trunks—lift their roots toward sky.
No one else comes to pay tribute to this but you
so you walk amongst the dying, the fallow, the sky turning
over another day, stop at some knotted stump & think
about when you’d last come here with your parents
decades ago, posed with siblings for their camera, the voices
of others around you spreading beyond the mist of petals.
The dark now gowns, renders familiar shapes
illegible. The stars reveal this threadbare night, the apogee
of you from your car, but it doesn’t feel quite right
to make your return, so you continue astray, leaving
your ears as guide. The crickets chirp & you
can almost decipher their monosyllabic words, let go
of any pretending to be at one with, to understand nature,
do as you’d done as a child: let the voices
around you spread beyond what is unknown,
the valley walls so far off nothing bounces back.