Slanting light casts onto a stucco wall the shadows of upwardly zigzagging plum branches. I can see the thinning of branches to the very twig. I have to sift what you say, what she thinks, what he believes is genetic strength, what they agree is inevitable. I have to sift this quirky and lashing stillness of form to see myself, even as I see laid out on a table for Death an assortment of pomegranates and gourds. And what if Death eats a few pomegranate seeds? Does it insure a few years of pungent spring? I see one gourd, yellow from midsection to top and zucchini-green lower down, but already the big orange gourd is gnawed black. I have no idea why the one survives the killing nights. I have to sift what you said, what I felt, what you hoped, what I knew. I have to sift death as the stark light sifts the branches of the plum.
Unpacking a Globe
I gaze at the Pacific and don’t expect
to ever see the heads on Easter Island,
though I guess at sunlight rippling
the yellow grasses sloping to shore;
yesterday a doe ate grass in the orchard:
it lifted its ears and stopped eating
when it sensed us watching from
a glass hallway—in his sleep, a veteran
sweats, defusing a land mine.
On the globe, I mark the Battle of
the Coral Sea—no one frets at that now.
A poem can never be too dark,
I nod and, staring at the Kenai, hear
ice breaking up along an inlet;
yesterday a coyote trotted across
my headlights and turned his head
but didn’t break stride; that’s how
I want to live on this planet:
alive to a rabbit at a glass door—
and flower where there is no flower.