What Comes

- 1950-
J’ai rapporté du désespoir un panier si petit mon amour, qu’on a pu le tresser en osier.
I brought from despair a basket so small, my love, that it might have been woven of willow.

                                                                                       —Rene Char
 

to speak is not yet to have spoken.

the not-yet of a white realm of nothing left

neither for itself nor another

a no-longer already there, along with the arrival of what has been 

light and the reverse of light

terror as walking blind along the breaking sea, body in whom I lived

the not-yet of death darkening what it briefly illuminates

an unknown place as between languages

back and forth, breath to breath as a calm

in the surround rises, fireflies in lindens, an ache of pine

you have yourself within you

yourself, you have her, and there is nothing

that cannot be seen

open then to the coming of what comes

Sequestered Writing


Horses were turned loose in the child's sorrow. Black and roan, cantering through snow.
The way light fills the hand with light, November with graves, infancy with white.
White. Given lilacs, lilacs disappear. Then low voices rising in walls.
The way they withdrew from the child's body and spoke as if it were not there.

What ghost comes to the bedside whispering You?
-- With its no one without its I --
A dwarf ghost? A closet of empty clothes?
Ours was a ghost who stole household goods. Nothing anyone would miss.
Supper plates. Apples. Barbed wire behind the house.

At the end of the hall, it sleepwalks into a mirror wearing mother's robe.
A bedsheet lifts from the bed and hovers. Face with no face. Come here.
The bookcase knows, and also the darkness of books. Long passages into,
Endless histories toward, sleeping pages about. Why else toss gloves into a grave?

A language that once sent ravens through firs. The open world from which it came.
Words holding the scent of an asylum fifty years. It is fifty years, then.
The child hears from within: Come here and know, below 
And unbeknownst to us, what these fields had been.