Jasmine

With dusk’s slow bleed, the scent comes back 

from beyond our gate, sickly-sweetly powdering the yard

and its scattered buckets, chalk, decapitated 

plastic fauna—how all the bright junk 

rushes to the pixelated surface 

in the final minutes before remorse 

douses the world in itself. High-tops on the phone wire

already mortared into silhouettes, like crows.

Roof rat in the plum tree, synching its intricate listening 

with the stop-start taps on my MacBook 

ten feet beneath. Wondering what’s taking us so long

to vanish. Its tail pulses from its rich perch 

with what I thought I had once—a hunger 

so absorbing it becomes, while nothing changes,

its own reward. Some hidden dark

where you could crouch and find a pattern. 

While nothing changes; while the scent of jasmine

flutters and drifts, like sympathy, living for itself.

More by Nate Klug

Difference

Talk to you tonight,
I wrote this morning, knowing
it would only be the afternoon
where you are, will be,
whole neighborhood still
wrapped in a tule fog
that won’t let up—so you reported
before supper
                       while I slept.
I almost wrote this afternoon
instead, taking your point
of view, dissolving into it—
but then imagined
you half-awake, and irked,
into my future/current noon
texting for clarification.

Lonely Planet

You’re used to it, the way,
in the first wide-eyed
minutes, climbing from parking lot
to fire trail, or rifling through
cupboards in a rented kitchen,
I can’t help but tell you
we should visit here again,
my reverie inserting
a variation in the season,
or giving friends the room
next door, in stubborn panic
to fix this happiness in place
by escaping from it.
“We’re here now,” you say,
holding out the book I bought
with its dog-eared maps and lists
and, on the cover, a waterfall,
white flecks frozen, very close.

Related Poems

Migration

Crows assemble in the bare elm above our house.
Restless, staring: like souls
who want back in life.

            —And who wouldn’t want again
            the hot bath after hard work,
            with soft canyons of splitting foam;
            or the glass of spring water
            cold at the mouth?

            To be startled by beauty—drops of bright
            blood on the snow.
            To be radiant.

All morning the crows watch me in the garden
putting in the early onions.
Their bodies look oiled.
Back in, back in,
they shake the wooden rattles. 

Night Blooming Jasmine

And in the hour when blooms unfurl

thoughts of my loved ones come to me.

           The moths of evening whirl

           around the snowball tree.



Nothing now shouts or sings;

one house only whispers, then hushes.

           Nestlings sleep beneath wings,

           like eyes beneath their lashes.



From open calyces there flows

a ripe strawberry scent, in waves.

           A lamp in the house glows.

           Grasses are born on graves.



A late bee sighs, back from its tours

and no cell vacant any more.

           The hen and her cheeping stars

           cross their threshing floor.



All through the night the flowers flare,

scent flowing and catching the wind.

           The lamp now climbs the stair,

           shines from above, is dimmed...



It's dawn: the petals, slightly worn,

close up again—each bud to brood,

           in its soft, secret urn,

           on some yet-nameless good.