Patsy Sees a Ghost

I'm crossing the river where it narrows,
carefully, it being Sunday
and I'm past the root end of the log
when I look up,
and there's a haunt sitting
on the blossom end.
I can see trumpet vine and blackberries
through her white dress.
Gnats hang in the air.
The river runs, red-brown and deep.
The haunt sings
and it's my music, the blood song
of my heart and bones
and my skull dancing in the road.
And Chloe, she knows my name.
She says Oh Patsy, take care,
or you will surely fall
and the thick river
will pull you too to shroudy weeds
and you'll be gone,
gone as the moment you looked up
and saw the trumpet vine and
berrries, hot and ready
through my white dress,
gone as all the years since I died,
and waited here for you.

Mary's Duties

He is rid away to the tenant farms 
and I take up my pen to list 
the shakings-out and openings. 
And my thin letters lean as sails 
that, though driven, cannot arrive.

May the ninth, I write.
And: Mrs. Ferguson. 
Unbutton the bed pillows 
and plump them to the air.
Then: Take the curtains down 
and with your broom unseat 
the spiders' webs. Open

the windows and leave them 
wide and here the thread trails 
off, among the cottages 
with their spring festoons of eggs 
pricked with pins and blown, 
fragile as the blacksmith's daughter 
dreaming in the sun, who lifts 
her skirts above her white knees.

I pull back behind a hedge. 
Let her not meet me, with my dry pen.

The Surprise

                 St. Augustine

Light shafts down on 
the assembled congregation of sails 

billows my shirt      sends me to where thin countries 
stretch like needles    to a low and distant shore 

from which    suddenly     canoes appear

Imago: Portrait of a Young Poet

It’s not her elytra,

glittery and hard,

but the second, delicate pair

of wings they conceal,

folded along artful veins,

that when it’s time

will open and carry her.