As to Why We Will Not Stop (Making the Hats)

This time it does not begin with the beaver
Instead only halfway up the mountain
Where the sheep we keep each year come through

Winter enough to answer us, enough
For us to shear, deft before the coming storm,
To take away from the body what it did not know

It grew and then astonished each spring to feel 
The quickening of the lamb, the heft of
Sudden weight crossing one more patch

Of snow. All with an eye out
For the cougar or some such animal
Of which the DNA is no longer

What it might have been, the coyote now
As part dog part wolf   
Already commonplace. We have come to know the truth

As no longer true— the old ways do not work
Against the new. How to reconcile the bear
As she comes down to what we now call ours

And how to prepare for the unforeseen
As we throw each sheep handily on their back
To begin at the belly—fleece to shear,

To wash, and pick, to card, to bale, to weigh,
To the depot where all will be spun, dyed
Into the wool we want, knowing it can be done

Again and again without much death
For the sheep she rises, shakes herself
Back into where she was before: grass, lamb;

Watches until we have pulled away,
As we head back down the mountain—
And in something like ability, or capacity, 

The condition of being human, or female,
Or both, we want to knit this out, into
Dawn light, into a long stream

Of making sense, into where we will go next,
Into skeins of design and colors
Of what blood can mean, pinks

Such as rose or carmine, wanton or nearly red,
Timid or raw, healing or newly born,
Scarlet, blaze, bloom, or shell, or blush,

Like the small fingers of a wakening child,
Each stitch to repeat, purl and dispatch,
To get this done, and into that which

We can call sustainable, so those from behind
Can choose from the many hues; likewise
To walk forward with covered or uncovered heads.


that you are unloved
but that you love
and must decide which

to remember; tracks left
in the field, a language
of going away or coming back—

and to look up
from the single mind,
to let untangle

the far-off snow
from sky
until no longer

held as proof
is also where birds
find agreement

strung along branches
each with their own song
for the other,

every note used
to sing anyway—
how to hold the already

as the not yet

Love Poem

Which cannot be written tries anyway—
From one room to another, each time startled
And does not want to hear of the already

Passed through, the country of before.
Poem that at each door believes itself
In the room closest to the end

Where finally everything will be gone over,
Dismantled, held up, carefully laid back down
While talked into the beauty which can turn

In a minute. To hear of every other
Poem written is to begin
Revision and what cannot be left enough

Alone and so the lovers look at each other
Until none else can come near. Poem
Which never wanted anything but this

Tries anyway, so brave, unable to know where
She heads; unwrapping until only a gift
Which cannot be given as it cannot be let go.

Private Equity

To put one and one together making
Two and so on. A house appears, room
With a bed in it. To configure anyway,

Even without enough information.
We work into it, the chosen. To measure
Everything out until the one who takes over

Becomes taken. This as strategy, the art
Of how we build until management
In turn builds us, elegant the logic

Used. To draw out more than what is put in.
Everyone wants beyond; even with the one
Last page as exit plan it is by return

How we will be known. To end up where we start
Again and to look as if we gained.

Related Poems

Did Not Come Back

In the roan hour between then & then again, the now, in the Babel
Of a sorrel ship gone horizontal to a prow of night, the breach of owls

Abducted by broad light, but blind, in the crime, the titanesque of rare
Assault—we who have come back—petitioning, from the chair

Electric with bad news, from the stunning, from the narrows
Of an evening gall, from the mooring of an hour slanted on the follow

Bow, she rose from a bed of Ireland like a flyted trout, a shiny
Marvel on the sailor's deck, an apologia—divining—

As once, as at a salted empire port, he washed
Her fleeted body & they lied, the best of them, the cream & crush

Of this, the madrigal & sacrifice of that, the best of them,
The slowest velvet suffocation of their kind, did not come

Whittled back by autumn, at an hour between thorn & chaff,
Not come riddled with oblivion, the crossing & a shepherd's staff,

The moment between Have & Shall Not Want, we who have salt
Always know, that we who have—the best of us—did not come back.