As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
As the storm-struck oak leaned closer to the house —
The remaining six-story half of the tree listing toward the glass box
Of the kitchen like someone in the first tilt of stumbling —
The other half crashed into the neighbors’ yards, a massive
Diagonal for which we had no visual cue save for
An antler dropped by a constellation —
As the ragged half leaned nearer, the second storm of cloying snow
Began pulling on the shocked, still-looming splitting, and its branches dragged
Lower like ripped hems it was tripping over
Until they rustled on the roof under which I
Quickly made dinner, each noise a threat from a body under which we so recently
Said, Thank goodness for our tree, how it has accompanied us all these years,
Thank goodness for its recitation of the seasons out our windows and over
The little lot of our yard, thank goodness for the birdsong and
Which keep us from living alone, and for its proffered shade, the crack of the bat
Resounding through September when its dime-sized acorns
Land on the tin awning next door. Have
Mercy on us, you, the massively beautiful, now ravaged and charged
We did speak like that. As if from a book of psalms
Because it took up the sky
I bought a red bra, she said.
I knew you’d like it.
The only problem was I didn’t
have a red blouse to wear with it.
I bought that & red pants
& shoes, so it wouldn’t stand out
so much. I also thought of getting
red panties. But I said to hell with that.
I’m not going to worry if one small part
of the outfit doesn’t match. And who’s
going to see my underwear? Just you.
what do you know about fashion? Nothing.
As if she were something opened —
like a pocket watch — her body
slipped beneath a surface
peeled back to reveal its surface —
drops of air clinging to her thighs
like roe. Outside, the snow
pressed down against the city’s
rooftops; a frozen shirt
on the clothesline hung slack,
no longer cracked and whipped
by the wind. And the window
just a slide of silence — its slip
into evening measured
in drips from the tap. I found
I was alone with her body —
refracted and clarified — water
breathing with her breath.
What could I do but watch
the lightwebs lambently drift
along the walls? — as if
the room’s edges radiated
from her, as if I were inside
her thought. But then,
even before this could register,
the clothesline creaked
and the wind picked up,
and she stirred, so the water
broke from her into water.
stare at us
from the framed
You may say otherwise,
but there they are,
without a sound
further and further
into the past.
All the grass
in front of us.
such a large
depth, I see
a plain as if the
were showing smaller