The obvious is difficult To prove. Many prefer The hidden. I did, too. I listened to the trees. They had a secret Which they were about to Make known to me— And then didn't. Summer came. Each tree On my street had its own Scheherazade. My nights Were a part of their wild Storytelling. We were Entering dark houses, Always more dark houses, Hushed and abandoned. There was someone with eyes closed On the upper floors. The fear of it, and the wonder, Kept me sleepless. The truth is bald and cold, Said the woman Who always wore white. She didn't leave her room. The sun pointed to one or two Things that had survived The long night intact. The simplest things, Difficult in their obviousness. They made no noise. It was the kind of day People described as "perfect." Gods disguising themselves As black hairpins, a hand-mirror, A comb with a tooth missing? No! That wasn't it. Just things as they are, Unblinking, lying mute In that bright light— And the trees waiting for the night.
The Old Orphan
for Andrew Periale
The sparrows in the gutter knew you
And hopped out of your way.
The trash being blown about
By the wind gusting did as well.
A few scenes from your life
Were about to be performed
By a puppet theater in the park,
When it started to rain hard,
Making the great trees panic
Along with mothers and children,
Who ran shrieking for cover
Wherever they could find it,
Except for you, already seated
In a long row of empty chairs,
Waiting for your angry stepfather
To step out from behind a curtain.