A Walk Round the Park

We did not say much to each other but
we grinned,
            because this love was so good you sucked the
rib bones

and I licked my fingers like a cat.
Now I’m
            omniscient. I’m going to skip past
the hard

parts that go on for a very long time. Here’s the
            I laugh, because the pleasure was earned
yet vouchsafed,

and I made room for what was dead past and what
yet didn’t
            exist. I was not always kind, but I
was clear.


Edward Taylor was a frontier minister who wrote a prolific amount of devotional poetry. The
poems are full of deep piety, learned and quiet, but sometimes an errant wildness runs under the
seams of his words.

It’s said that he wrote poetic meditations to put himself in the correct spiritual state for his
communion with Christ.

I imagine the task swallowing him each time, moving its own patient way like snowmelt. A poem
may hold the unwieldy pieces of the earth together with a whole heart; a poem may cut that heart
to lace.

His first wife, Elizabeth Fitch, bore eight children; five died in infancy. Taylor wrote more and
more sermons and poems.

Sometimes a conceit makes itself necessary in the safety of the impasse between word and world.
And make my soul Thy holy spool to be, writes Taylor.

His parishioners were called to worship in the wilderness with a beat of a drum, amidst cold
plants, the night coming on, undelivered ashes of stars.

Flocks take to the sky at dusk. I have wondered if the parishioners counted the days.

As in: did they ever travel past the corrective of the afterworld to stand in the strong spine of
rivers? According to Taylor: In heaven soaring up, I dropt an ear on earth: and oh! Sweet melody

—(Or weren’t there deranged cries in the wilderness, too?)

Taylor’s trust appears both adamantine and vulnerable, like the slow plan of the flowering grass
or torn, stilled clouds.

Alone in his study, he writes down some dimensions—
I’m but a Flesh and Blood bag, Oh!

Consider the strange and riotous interior, through which so many nameless things fly.

As weeds continue to idle their tails, leaves molder right on time. In the rafters of the sky, a
pristine star shines with unassailability. It can’t be taught a thing.

The wilderness: I cannot get around the back of it.

Related Poems

The Persistence of Symptoms

During the short sale I moved my desk toward Charlie’s 
so that every day, when we came back from work,

he could say, It’s not even your house, to my face 

when I’d fret, I can’t lose another thing. 

Most of what I owned was slopped in return boxes 
from other states and when I visited home 

I complained about how I ever slept on that twin, 

how my father couldn’t even dust the Venetian blinds 

once in a while. It was the sixth or seventh house 
I’d lived in, and not even one I’d say I grew up in

—I’d say the neighbors maybe found us eccentric 

with the trellis heavied by wind chimes and roots invading 

the porch’s foundation—so he was right 
to put the noise cancelling headphones I gave him 

back on while I agitated the sink. But it was our house 

for a while, the lawn tended, the gnomes in a collection,

and before I used it as storage, I worried in it 
about changing the motion sensors and whether 

the leaky faucet was drowning the persimmon tree 

my late grandmother and late beagle loved. 

Charlie replied always with concern 
about my Googling old addresses again. 

No one hated sentimentality more than I, 

but when I flew back to consolidate my boxes, 

I didn’t know where to start. 
Crayons, a below-zero sleeping bag, so many albums 

of things I couldn’t place. My things and what were 

not my things. I circled trash bags around me 

in the garage and tuned the radio in tears. 
Just like that, it was for weeks. Inspecting frames, 

books, dishes—separating what was not broken from 

what was, dumping when I knew the difference. 

Stuff I probably did and didn't

     After Tim Dlugos' Things I Might Do

I probably didn't tell you that the last
Line of your poem left me on a plane of
Movement somewhere between the best of pop
Culture and the longest break in your favorite pop song
I probably didn't tell you that the train is going to take
Way longer than you think and you were probably annoyed
I probably broke the moon in pieces with my night vision
Straining too hard to remember what I probably dropped in your inbox
I probably should've said what I meant.
You probably knew how my life didn't fix into
That theory box on your shelf, so I probably
Ignored you when you said hi to me near Mercer St
I probably left off the most important thing
But you probably didn't want to hear it
I probably tried to be a good New Yorker and
Work hard and play hard but it didn't work
Out that way, I probably just reverted back to
The Rust Belt mode—work hard, have it not mean
Enough to play hard or play at all. It's probably too hard to make
A dent for yourself in the Rust Belt. It's all probably said and done
Your neighbor knows what you did tomorrow and what was
Going on yesterday. Probably good too so you don't get in trouble
With the other neighbor. But they probably don't know that you could
Be in NY for a few hours and have something good and so life changing happen
To you it was probably a 360 for you and probably took
You years to come down to 180, probably, right?