Where the Sky Meets the Earth

W. Todd Kaneko
A man can’t die where there is no earth
 
because there will be no place
to bury him. His body is the sky
and understands the language of birds.
 
His body says the earth is made of everything
that has fallen from Heaven
 
while no one was looking. He promises
to defy gravity and then return home.
 
A man can’t reach for the sky and not feel
he is falling. It goes on forever and the birds
talk about the awesomeness of flight
 
while the oxen labor in the fields,
while the cows eat grass and dream
 
of slaughter. A man can’t talk about flight
because one day, there will be no sky,
just the body covered in earth.
 
And now the sky is empty of birds.
And now the earth is covered in flowers.

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My Father's Hats


   Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
   on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
   the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
   through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
   his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
   crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
   held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
   was that of a clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
   sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
   on water I'm not sure is there.