As the rain starts
it is as if the first drops
are the hardest
Some set up time is required,
minute calibrations, calculating
a storm’s severity so that the wrath
of God will be noticed.
Or tuned for the slightest drizzle
so a couple might need to
lean into each other
wordlessly declaring their love.
Once the engines have warmed up,
there is an ease to its repetition.
The walkers with eyes downcast.
The rain returning from foreign seas.
March 29, 2010
Every morning since the time changed
I have woken to the dawn chorus
And even before it sounded, I dreamed of it
Loud, unbelievably loud, shameless, raucous
And once I rose and twitched the curtains apart
Expecting the birds to be pressing in fright
Against the pane like passengers
But the garden was empty and it was night
Not a slither of light at the horizon
Still the birds were bawling through the mists
A million small evangelists
How they sing: as if each had pecked up a smoldering coal
Their throats singed and swollen with song
In dissonance as befits the dark world
Where only travelers and the sleepless belong
on the cliffside
Nodding at the canyon
Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars.
But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are
walking easily across the ground, and into town
as though you were floating on air, which in part you are,
or riding a wave of what feels like the world’s good will—
though helped along by something foreign and older than you are
and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable
an X-ray, you’re sure, would show it, within the body you are,
not all that far beneath the skin, and even in
some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are—
with all that isn’t actually you having flowed
through and settled in you, and made you what you are?
The pain was never replaced, nor was it quite erased.
It’s memory now—so you know just how lucky you are.
You didn’t always. Were you then? And where’s the fear?
Inside your words, like an engine? The car you are?!
Face it, friend, you most exist when you’re driven
away, or on—by forms and forces greater than you are.
The book is made of glass and I look
through it and see more books.
Many glass books.
Is someone speaking?
A muffled voice is telling me
to make soup which I think
means I am loved.
What other kind of cup
Can there be a cup of cup?
A cup of itself?
Outside a black squirrel has wiggled
to the end
of a very skinny branch.
When the squirrel breathes
the whole tree shakes,
as if the squirrel were the soul
of the tree.
Have you ever felt like
such a tree?
in the cold dark,
through the closed dim
fore me, which be-
past laughter or
passion or hard
hard work. An ache
ing. An ache of
over love. An
of the heavy
moment pulse in
It is difficult to speak of the night.
It is the other time. Not
an absence of day.
But where there are no flowers
to turn away into.
There is only this dark
and the familiar place of my body.
And the voices calling out
of me for love.
This is not the night of the young:
their simple midnight of fear.
Nor the later place to employ.
This dark is a major nation.
I turn to it at forty
and find the night in flood.
Find the dark deployed in process.
Clotted in parts, in parts
flowing with lights.
The voice still keen of the divorce
we are born into.
But they are farther off,
and do not interest me.
I am forty, and it is different.
Suddenly in midpassage
I come into myself. I left
gigantically. An empire yields
unexpectedly: cities, summer forests,
A solitude: an enormity.