You sit at a window and listen to your father
crossing the dark grasses of the fields
toward you, a moon soaking through his shoes as he shuffles the wind
aside, the night in his hands like an empty bridle.
How long have we been this way, you ask him.
It must be ages, the wind answers. It must be the music of the wind
turning your fingers to glass, turning the furniture of childhood
to the colors of horses, turning them away.
Your father is still crossing the acres, a light on his tongue
like a small coin from an empire that has always been ruined.
Now the dark flocks are drifting through his shoulders
with an odor of lavender, an odor of gold. Now he has turned
as though to go, but only knelt down with the heavy oars
of October on his forearms, to begin the horrible rowing.
You sit in a chair in the room. The wind lies open
on your lap like the score of a life you did not measure.
You rise. You turn back to the room and repeat what you know:
The earth is not a home. The night is not an empty bridle
in the hands of a man crossing a field with a new moon
in his old wool. We abandon the dead. We abandon them.
If tonight the moon should arrive like a lost guide
crossing the fields with a bitter lantern in her hand,
her irides blind, her dresses wild, lie down and listen to her
find you; lie down and listen to the body become
the promise of no other, the sleeper in the garden
in its own arms, the exile in its own autumnal house.
You have woken. But no one has woken. You are changed,
but the light of change is bitter, the changing
is the threshold into winter. Traveler, rememberer, sleeper,
tonight, as you slumber where the dead are, if the moon’s hands
should discover you through fire, lie down
and listen to her hold you, the moon who has been away
so long now, the lost moon with her silver lips
and whisper, her body half in winter,
half in wool. Look at her, look at her, that drifter.
And if no one, if nothing comes to know you, if no song
comes to prove it isn’t over, tell yourself, in the moon’s
arms, she is no one; tell yourself, as you lose
love, it is after, that you alone are the bearer
in that changed place, you alone who have woken, and have
opened, you alone who can so love
what you are now and the vanishing that carries it away.