I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds and you are as far as the deepest root and wound, and I am as far as a train at evening, as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember. You are as far as an unimagined animal who, frightened by everything, never appears. I am as far as cicadas and locusts and you are as far as the cleanest arrow that has sewn the wind to the light on the birch trees. I am as far as the sleep of rivers that stains the deepest sky between clouds, you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory. You are as far as a red-marbled stream where children cut their feet on the stones and cry out. And I am as far as their happy mothers, bleaching new linen on the grass and singing, "You are as far as another life, as far as another life are you." And I am as far as an infinite alphabet made from yellow stars and ice, and you are as far as the nails of the dead man, as far as a sailor can see at midnight when he's drunk and the moon is an empty cup, and I am as far as invention and you are as far as memory. I am as far as the corners of a room where no one has ever spoken, as far as the four lost corners of the earth. And you are as far as the voices of the dumb, as the broken limbs of saints and soldiers, as the scarlet wing of the suicidal blackbird, I am farther and farther away from you. And you are as far as a horse without a rider can run in six years, two months and five days. I am as far as that rider, who rubs his eyes with his blistered hands, who watches a ghost don his jacket and boots and now stands naked in the road. As far as the space between word and word, as the heavy sleep of the perfectly loved and the sirens of wars no one living can remember, as far as this room, where no words have been spoken, you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.
a homely word:
a plosive, a long cry, a quiet stop, a silent letter
like a storm and the end of a storm,
the kind brewing
at the top of a pine,
(torn hair, bowed spirits, and,
later, straightened shoulders)
who’s who of the stirred and stirred up:
musicians, revolutionaries, pines.
A coniferous tree with needle-shaped leaves.
Suffering or trouble; there’s a pin inside.
The aphoristic seamstress was putting up a hem, a shelf of pins at her
“needles and pins / needles and pins / when a man marries / his trouble begins.”
A red pincushion with a twisted string, and a little pinecone tassel, at the
That particular smell, bracing,
exact as a sharpened point.
The Christmas tree, nude and fragrant,
propped as pure potential in
the corner with no nostalgia for
ornament or angels.
“Pine-Sol,” nauseating, earnest, imitation—
one means of knowing the real thing is the fake you find in school.
Pent up inside on a winter day, the steaming closeness from the radiators.
At the bell, running down the hillside. You wore a pinafore.
The air had a nip: pine
was traveling in the opposite direction.
Sunlight streaming through a stand of pines,
dancing backward through the A’s and T’s.
Is it fern or willow that’s the opposite of pine?
An alphabet made of trees.
In the clearing vanished hunters
left their arrowheads
and deep cuts in the boulder wall:
petroglyphs, repeating triangles.
Grandmothers wearing pinnies trimmed in rickrack.
One family branch lived in a square of oak forest, the other in a circle of
the oak line: solid, reliable, comic; the piney one capable of pain
W-H-I-T-E: the white pine’s five-frond sets spell its name. (Orthography of
other pines I don’t yet know.)
The weight of snow on boughs, lethargic, then rocked by the thump of a
Pinecones at the Villa Borghese: Fibonacci increments,
heart-shaped veins, shadowing the inner
edges of the petals.
Like variations at the margins of a bird feather.
Graffiti tattooing the broken
water clock, a handful
of pine nuts, pried out, for lunch.
Pining away like Respighi with your pencil.
For a coffin, you’d pick a plain
pine box suspended in a weedy sea.
No undergrowth, though, in a pine forest.
Unlike the noisy wash
of dry deciduous leaves,
the needles blanket the earth
pliant beneath a bare foot,
a walk through the pines.
Silence in the forest comes from books.