I hear a dog who is always in my death

How is it you bring me back to the cliffs   the bright heads of eagles   the vessels of grief in the soil?   I dig for you with a gentle bit of lighter fluid and three miniature rakes   burning only a single speck of dirt to touch a twig as tiny as a neuron   or even smaller   one magic synapse inside the terminus limbs of your breath

The fighter jets fly over the house every hour   no sound but inside our hands   I hear a far chime and I am cold a north wind and the grit of night   first the murmur then the corpse   first the paddling then the banquet   first the muzzle then the hanging   the plea   first the break then the tap the tap   I hear your skin   the reach of your arms   the slick along your thighs   more floorboard than step   first the flannel then the gag   first the bells   then the exhale

I hear a dog who is always in my death   the breath of a mother who holds a gun   a pillow in the shape of a heart   first the planes then the criminal ponds   first the ghost boats then the trains   first the gates then the bargain   a child formed from my fingertip and the eye of my grandmother’s mother   a child born at 90   the rise and rush of air   a child who walks from the gas

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Artificer

Burning, he walks in the stream of flickering letters, clarinets,
machines throbbing quicker than the heart, lopped-off heads, silk
canvases, and he stops under the sky

and raises toward it his joined clenched fists.

Believers fall on their bellies, they suppose it is a monstrance that
   shines,

but those are knuckles, sharp knuckles shine that way, my friends.

He cuts the glowing, yellow buildings in two, breaks the walls into
   motley halves;
pensive, he looks at the honey seeping from those huge honeycombs:
throbs of pianos, children's cries, the thud of a head banging against
   the floor.
This is the only landscape able to make him feel.

He wonders at his brother's skull shaped like an egg,
every day he shoves back his black hair from his brow,
then one day he plants a big load of dynamite
and is surprised that afterward everything spouts up in the explosion.
Agape, he observes the clouds and what is hanging in them:
globes, penal codes, dead cats floating on their backs, locomotives.
They turn in the skeins of white clouds like trash in a puddle.
While below on the earth a banner, the color of a romantic rose,
   flutters,
and a long row of military trains crawls on the weed-covered tracks.

Wilno, 1931