That we can breathe and not forget
our dreams entirely. In the cold sun
the warmth of timelessness. There is
panic, rest assured, so much beauty
stirring, I want to touch all that
contains me. We know the questions
and the light shifts without a word.
In the clouds, a philosopher’s chair
rocks. In the riverbed, the buff
and lathe of stones, change glistening
past. And from the afternoon, drops
of her monthly blood drip down
the stairs, the kitchen table, all of her
unopened bills, a cold floor that timed
us. O, the ins and outs of memory
breathe, too, images at rest in the dark
chambers, the gilded daylight whir
a heart’s dusting—one walkup,
one post storm quiet blinking at
infinity. Who shot the moon
and claimed victory in the morning?
The constellations touch down;
the years collapse; the boom
and bust of love lowers the crane
at dawn: in what earth, in what sky
will the soul find its keeper?
Copyright © 2015 by Howard Altmann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 27, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
“The sun was so low in the sky on a cold January afternoon in New York City, I was blinded to the point where I had to stop walking. And it was a kind of high as my vision expanded; and the days collapsed.”