Occurrences across the Chromatic Scale

The way air is at the same time
intimate and out of reach

(a void with light inside it
turned on a wheel of wheres)

Stars' lease on sky expires, breathes
in leisures of sparrows, wrens

and casual trees, wet sidewalks
twittering with tattered news, old

leaves (hollow bones and branches)
wind of wish and which and boys

waiting for white kisses, rain
of feathers, clouds saving their later

Suppose this sunlight, day split open
suppose these senses and the information

carried, thing and news of the thing
repeating place, location of position

Birds, for example, remembered
fluttering torn terms, congregations

shimmer of hummingbirds
but when does one see more than one

tumbling bright flesh (sky
at hand) pleating afternoon, banking

on mere atmosphere, primary
colors dividing white into

three clean halves (red, green,
blue-bitter berries rasp, crabapples

crush underfoot), the spectrum
says don't stop there

(smudged light a lapse of attention)
there's never enough world for you

"Occurrences across the Chromatic Scale" from Otherhood: Poems, by Reginald Shepherd. Copyright © 2003. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.