Californian (“You want to go back”)

You want to go back
where grief was perfect weather...

A long time
rain trussed the perspectives

with rope and silver. In the grove,
in the eucalyptus,

shadow bound
in shapeless sheaves : a sfumato of indigo

and graphite leaving the air
beneath the leaves a stain, as of mineral

and berries, a smear of menthol.
No birds ever—

or it seems so now—
in the forest. No sound

but a soft mathematics in the branches,
rain adding rain

to rain. No growth—
each tree’s dermis : dark blown glass and a breath

kept inside. And fastened
with twists of thin wire

to the branches, the leaves’ useless
ruined currency;

it glisters :
a mint of flattened nickels. It seems

you have come back—but
the money of your elegies is no good here,

listen : it isn’t your pennies any longer
hold his eyes closed.

From Pleasure (Ahsahta Press, 2010) by Brian Teare. Copyright © 2010 by Brian Teare. Used with the permission of the poet.