The Widows of Gravesend

It is told & it is told & it is told again.
Whispered in the kitchen by women
dividing violets,
separating beans from stones.
There came a man then
walking in his father's shoes
who heard the three dogs barking by the stream
& at the crossroads
owned neither by this woman nor that man
saw two white horses in a line
& said, "Yes, I am a wanderer in my own land."

Who are you anyway?
An old crow fallen among gold apples?
A man shaving his father's face in the mirror?
Naked under the white sow of the moon
with only the fakebook of Beauty for feeling,
you think, What is my life?
A dog abandoned at the end of summer?
A walk in the rain?
I have lived with my body so long, is it not my soul?
Sadness tunes the instrument.
There is a chill on everything.
You feel the surge, the violent momentum of
emptiness filling immense forms,
energy frozen in each cell,
the snowplow in a sea of waves spellbound by starlight.

Night, night,
sweetest sister, weary river flowing on,
who will sing all our tomorrows?
The lucky ones who continue to live having nothing?

From The Gate of Horn. Copyright © 2010 by L. S. Asekoff. Used by permission of Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.