crazy :: sharon olds

I’ve said that he and I had been crazy
for each other, but maybe my ex and I were not
crazy for each other. Maybe we
were sane for each other, as if our desire
was almost not even personal—
it was personal, but that hardly mattered, since there
seemed to be no other woman
or man in the world. Maybe it was
an arranged marriage, air and water and
earth had planned us for each other—and fire,
a fire of pleasure like a violence
of kindness. To enter those vaults together, like a
solemn or laughing couple in formal
step or writhing hair and cry, seemed to
me like the earth’s and moon’s paths,
inevitable, and even, in a way,
shy—enclosed in a shyness together,
equal in it. But maybe I
was crazy about him—it is true that I saw
that light around his head when I’d arrive second
at a restaurant—oh for God’s sake,
I was besotted with him. Meanwhile the planets
orbited each other, the morning and the evening
came. And maybe what he had for me
was unconditional, temporary
affection and trust, without romance,
though with fondness—with mortal fondness. There was no
tragedy, for us, there was
the slow-revealed comedy
of ideal and error. What precision of action
it had taken, for the bodies to hurtle through
the sky for so long without harming each other.

i allow myself :: dorothea grossman

I allow myself
the luxury of breakfast
(I am no nun, for Christ’s sake).
Charmed as I am
by the sputter of bacon,
and the eye-opening properties
of eggs,
it’s the coffee
that’s really sacramental.
In the old days,
I spread fires and floods and pestilence
on my toast.
Nowadays, I’m more selective,
I only read my horoscope
by the quiet glow of the marmalade.

hear it

light verse :: vijay seshadri

It’s just five, but it’s light like six.
It’s lighter than we think.
Mind and day are out of sync.
The dog is restless.
The dog’s owner is sleeping and dreaming of Elvis.
The treetops should be dark purple,
but they’re pink.

Here and now. Here and now.
The sun shakes off an hour.
The sun assumes its pre-calendrical power.
(It is, though, only what we make it seem.)
Now in the dog-owner’s dream,
the dog replaces Elvis and grows bigger
than that big tower

in Singapore, and keeps on growing until
he arrives at a size
with which only the planets can empathize.
He sprints down the ecliptic’s plane,
chased by his owner Jane
(that’s not really her name), who yells at him
to come back and synchronize.

old boy :: a. van jordan

     (Park Chan-Wook, 2003)

If one rainy night you find yourself
leaving a phone booth, and you meet a man
with a lavender umbrella, resist
your desire to follow him, to seek
shelter from the night in his solace.
Later, don’t fall victim to the Hypnotist’s
narcotic of clarity, which proves
a curare for the heart; her salve
is merely a bandage, under which memories
pulse. Resist the taste for something still
alive for your first meal; resist the craving
for the touch of a hand from your past.
We live some memories,
and some memories are planted. There’s
only so much space for the truth
and the fabrications to spread out
in one’s mind. When there’s no more
space, we grow desperate. You’ll ask
if practicing love for years in your mind,
prepares you for the moment,
if practicing to defend one’s life
is the same as living? You’ll
hole up, captive, in a hotel room
for fifteen years and learn to find
a man within you, which will prove
a painful introduction to the trance
into which you were born. Better
to stay under the spell of your guilt,
than to forget; you’ve already released
your pain onto the world; don’t believe
there’s some joy in forgetting.
There’s no joy in the struggle to forget.
And what appears as an endless verdant field,
only spreads across a building’s rooftop;
your peaceful sleep could be a fetal position,
which secures you in a suitcase in this field.
A bell rings, and you fall out of this luggage
like clothes you no longer fit. Now what to do?
You remember when you were the man
who fit those clothes, but you’ve forgotten this
world. Even forgotten scenes from your life,
leave shadows of the memory,
haunting your spirit
until, within a moment’s glance,
strangers passing you on the street,
observe history in your eyes. Experience
lingers through acts of forgetting,
small acts of love or trauma
falling from the same place. Whether
memory comes in the form of a stone
or a grain of sand, they both sink in water.
A tongue—even if it were, say, sworn
to secrecy; or if it were cut from one’s mouth;
yes, even without a mouth to envelop
its truth—the tongue continues to confess.

at the clothesline :: james tate

        Millie was in the backyard hanging the laundry. I was watching her from the kitchen window. Why does this give me so much pleasure? Because I love her in a million ways, and because I love the idea of clean laundry flapping in the wind. It’s timeless, a new beginning, a promise of tomorrow. Clothespins! God, I love clothespins. We should stock up on them. Some day they may stop making them, and then what? If I were a painter, I would paint Millie hanging the laundry. That would be a painting that would make you happy, and break your heart. You would never know what was in her mind, big thoughts, little thoughts, no thoughts. Did she see the hawk circling overhead? Did she hate hanging laundry? Was she going to run away with a sailor? The sheets billowing like sails on an ancient skiff, the socks waving goodbye. Millie, O Millie, do you remember me? The man who traveled with cloth napkins and loved you in the great storm.

beautiful wreckage :: w.d. erhart

What if I didn’t shoot the old lady
running away from our patrol,
or the old man in the back of the head,
or the boy in the marketplace?

Or what if the boy—but he didn’t
have a grenade, and the woman in Hue
didn’t lie in the rain in a mortar pit
with seven Marines just for food,

Gaffney didn’t get hit in the knee,
Ames didn’t die in the river, Ski
didn’t die in a medevac chopper
between Con Thien and Da Nang.

In Vietnamese, Con Thien means
place of angels. What if it really was
instead of the place of rotting sandbags,
incoming heavy artillery, rats and mud.

What if the angels were Ames and Ski,
or the lady, the man, and the boy,
and they lifted Gaffney out of the mud
and healed his shattered knee?

What if none of it happened the way I said?
Would it all be a lie?
Would the wreckage be suddenly beautiful?
Would the dead rise up and walk?

this moment :: eavan boland

A neighbourhood.
At dusk.

Things are getting ready
to happen
out of sight.

Stars and moths.
And rinds slanting around fruit.

But not yet.

One tree is black.
One window is yellow as butter.

A woman leans down to catch a child
who has run into her arms
this moment.

Stars rise.
Moths flutter.
Apples sweeten in the dark.

maggie and milly and molly and may :: e. e. cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

monarchy :: emily rosko

There was no room for us to have feelings.
Under the Queen, we were foiled, our faces blanked of wonder.
A pitiful ordeal, our cheap toil. We hated her for stealing.

Our crooked backs ached; our knees bled from kneeling,
the whole sum of our treasures given up to fund her.
There was no room for us to have feelings,

so we made our way quietly; we arranged our own dealings,
checked what we clocked. Each swallowed their thunder
and railed within. Nothing left out for stealing.

But pound for pound, we grew skinny, weary, reeling
from the new rules she devised. We had to watch and mind her.
There was no room for us to have feelings.

We were audited, then fined. We abided her schooling.
Then, all music stopped. All solitude filled, we couldn’t ponder
our losses. We tried to forget how much she was stealing.

Our patron saints left us; the stars took to jeering, leering
at our lessened state. We hardened at our blunder.
There was no room to have any feelings.
What of us? Not a pittance. No worth there for stealing.

sixth grade :: jeanie greensfelder

We didn’t like each other,
but Lynn’s mother had died,
and my father had died.

Lynn’s father didn’t know how to talk to her,
my mother didn’t know how to talk to me,
and Lynn and I didn’t know how to talk either.

A secret game drew us close:
we took turns being the prisoner,
who stood, hands held behind her back,

while the captor, using an imaginary bow,
shot arrow after arrow after arrow
into the prisoner’s heart.

come back :: chloë honum

I can’s see all of any horse at once.
They weave through twilight, in and out of sight,
as the sky drains of color, enters dusk.

The barn’s a bloodstain on an ivory dress,
lost in the skirt, a spiraling red kite.
I can’t see all of any horse at once.

Between us there is only field and dust
a fence and a shadow-fence. Beside me lightning
splashes the hillside, loosens it so dusk

can wring each soggy evergreen, unlace
pink threads of berries from the shrubs. I wait.
I can’t see all of any horse at once.

The moon has flown, though in its place a husk
clings to the sky. The horses figure-eight
in single file. Through rain-sown drapes of dusk

I try to count them, climb up on the fence.
Their foreheads shine with pearly stars, ghost-lit.
I can’t see all of any horse at once—
they multiply, and shiver in the dusk.

crossword :: sally bliumis-dunn

The white and black squares
promise order
in the morning mess
of mulling over

the latest political morass,
what’s on sale at Kohl’s,
the book review.

Each letter, shared,
which lifts away
some sheen of loneliness I
can’t quite explain.

This week, “arsenic” and “forsythia”
are joined by their i‘s
like long-estranged cousins.

And when they ask
for the French equivalent of sky,
I’m back on a wooden chair

in Madame Baumlin’s
eighth-grade class, passing
a note to David, having

no idea, as my hand grazes his,
that he will drown sailing
that next summer.

I like doing the crossword
with my husband —
Source of support,
three letters.

I’m the one who guesses it,
glad he doesn’t think
of ” bra” in this way.

The puzzle rests
on the counter all week.

I like coming back,
looking at the same clue
I found insolvable
the day before, my mind

often a mystery to me,
turning corners when I sleep
or am upstairs folding clothes.

They get added to pounds.
Yesterday I thought
it had to do with money or meat;

now I can see the chain-link fence
at the local animal shelter.
Of course. “Strays”

watch her read it

relax :: ellen bass

Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat–
the one you never really liked–will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up–drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice–one white, one black–scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.

to judgment: an assay :: jane hirshfield

You change a life
as eating an artichoke changes the taste
of whatever is eaten after.
Yet you are not an artichoke, not a piano or cat—
not objectively present at all—
and what of you a cat possesses is essential but narrow:
to know if the distance between two things can be leapt.
The piano, that good servant,
has none of you in her at all, she lends herself
to what asks; this has been my ambition as well.
Yet a person who has you is like an iron spigot
whose water comes from far-off mountain springs.
Inexhaustible, your confident pronouncements flow,
coldly delicious.
For if judgment hurts the teeth, it doesn’t mind,
not judgment. Teeth pass. Pain passes.
Judgment decrees what remains—
the serene judgments of evolution or the judgment
of a boy-king entering Persia: “Burn it,” he says,
and it burns. And if a small tear swells the corner
of one eye, it is only the smoke, it is no more to him than a beetle
fleeing the flames of the village with her six-legged children.
The biologist Haldane—in one of his tenderer moments—
judged beetles especially loved by God,
“because He had made so many.” For judgment can be tender:
I have seen you carry a fate to its end as softly as a retriever
carries the quail. Yet however much
I admire you at such moments, I cannot love you:
you are too much in me, weighing without pity your own worth.
When I have erased you from me entirely,
disrobed of your measuring adjectives,
stripped from my shoulders and hips each of your nouns,
when the world is horsefly, coal barge, and dawn the color of winter butter—
not beautiful, not cold, only the color of butter—
then perhaps I will love you. Helpless to not.
As a newborn wolf is helpless: no choice but hunt the wolf milk,
find it sweet.

in california: morning, evening, late january :: denise levertov

Pale, then enkindled,
light
advancing,
emblazoning
summits of palm and pine,

the dew
lingering,
scripture of
scintillas.

Soon the roar
of mowers
cropping the already short
grass of lawns,

men with long-nozzled
cylinders of pesticide
poking at weeds,
at moss in cracks of cement,

and louder roar
of helicopters off to spray
vineyards where braceros try
to hold their breath,

and in the distance, bulldozers, excavators,
babel of destructive construction.

Banded by deep
oakshadow, airy
shadow of eucalyptus,

miner’s lettuce,
tender, untasted,
and other grass, unmown,
luxuriant,
no green more brilliant.

Fragile paradise.

        .  .  .  .

At day’s end the whole sky,
vast, unstinting, flooded with transparent
mauve,
tint of wisteria,
cloudless
over the malls, the industrial parks,
the homes with the lights going on,
the homeless arranging their bundles.

        .  .  .  .

Who can utter
the poignance of all that is constantly
threatened, invaded, expended

and constantly
nevertheless
persists in beauty,

tranquil as this young moon
just risen and slowly
drinking light
from the vanished sun.

Who can utter
the praise of such generosity
or the shame?

of mere being :: wallace stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

the mermaids :: marianne boruch

The spell is a mouth’s
perilous-o as they dark circle the boats in
their most resplendent pliable armor.

The concept fish aligning with girl
or love with death
to bring down men at sea, temptation

confused into offering,
the mismatch of like plus unlike
really likes, straight to rock bottom.

No equation has ever been this badass.
It’s the men who will enter the spell
so far into exhaustion as weather, as waves,

the tide pulling toward if, letting go then
over the whale road in the company of
the dolphin, the only other animal, I’m told,

who can do it solely for pleasure. It.
You know what I mean. The lower half
aglitter, the top half brainy as beautiful

is sometimes, murderous lovelies, their plotting
and resolve and why not
get these guys good, the lechers.

To see at all in the whirling, to hear
what anyone might
in wind roar and faint whistle — 

don’t worry about girls shrewd
as whimsy, legend-tough
to the core. Don’t. But it’s

their spell too, isn’t it? Locked there.
Aligned with singing, dazzle
razor-blackened green. Not that they

miss what human is like or know any end
to waters half born to, from where
they look up.

Men in boats, so sick of the journey.
Men gone stupid with blue,
with vast, with gazing over and away

the whole time until same to same-old to
now they’re mean. After that, small.
Out there, the expanse. In here,

the expanse. The men look down. Aching
misalignment — gorgeous
lure that hides its hook steely sweet

to o my god, little fool’s breath
triumphant, all the way under and am I
not deserving?

blues man :: michael miller

One century (which time let go)
lives on stubbornly in this room.
The speakers hum with tales
of Sunday gospel, police dogs on the shoals,
bootleg whiskey at the back of a bus
in Chicago after the war.
Thirty chairs and a light turned low
give shelter from the cold outside
where the word ‘legend’ is scrawled in black
by the photograph on the window.
Hoarse, white-haired, he squints at the figures
who watch him back from the crooked tables,
his fingers conjuring the notes from childhood,
his foot on the case tapping rhymes.

You’re healed now, say the thin girl’s eyes.
I’m out of change, says the man with the jar.
A couple sways in the dark by the counter;
the boys sit up front, eager, taking notes down.

Their pens sustain him. At ten, alone,
he walks by the ghosts of a college town,
the bootleggers painted solemn on
the gallery walls, Chicago beamed
into the multiplex, the gnash of police dogs
pantomimed through a flickering reel,
the bus stopping by the curb to take him
to his next one-night stand, the headlights gold
as the waitress shuts out the light,
unscarred,
and heads for the dead of home.

fire :: patricia fargnoli

On this day there is a great fire,
the people gather all their belongings
and go out into their village streets and begin
to walk away into the countryside.
Smoke covers their past lives.
Ahead of them, the road is empty to the horizon.
In the fields, the sheep bow their heads to the grass
as if nothing is the matter.
The road is impossible long, dirt, rutted, full of stones.
Nothing can be seen beyond the next mountain.
Eventually, the people get tired. Some fall
but the mass goes forward,
and some of the fallen stand again and struggle on.
I have to go down now
and mix in
and walk along with them.

a practical mom :: amy uyematsu

can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years—I’ll ask her if she stops
to admire the perfect leaves
of the Japanese maple
she waters in her backyard,
or tell her how I can gaze for hours
at a desert sky and know this
as divine. Nature, she says,
doesn’t hold her interest. Not nearly
as much as the greens, pinks, and grays
of a Diebenkorn abstract, or the antique
Tiffany lamp she finds in San Francisco.
She spends hours with her vegetables,
tasting the tomatoes she’s picked that morning
or checking to see which radishes are big enough to pull.
Lately everything she touches bears fruit,
from new-green string beans to winning
golf strokes, glamorous hats she designs and sews,
soaring stocks with their multiplying shares.
These are the things she can count in her hands,
the tangibles to feed and pass on to daughters
and grandchildren who can’t keep up with all
the risky numbers she depends on, the blood-sugar counts
and daily insulin injections, the monthly tests
of precancerous cells in her liver and lungs.
She’s a mathematical wonder with so many calculations
kept alive in her head, adding and subtracting
when everyone else is asleep.

the strange hours travelers keep :: august kleinzahler

The markets never rest
Always they are somewhere in agitation
Pork bellies, titanium, winter wheat
Electromagnetic ether peppered with photons
Treasure spewing from Unisys A-15 J mainframes
Across the firmament
Soundlessly among the thunderheads and passenger jets
As they make their nightlong journeys
Across the oceans and steppes

Nebulae, incandescent frog spawn of information
Trembling in the claw of Scorpio
Not an instant, then shooting away
Like an enormous cloud of starlings

Garbage scows move slowly down the estuary
The lights of the airport pulse in morning darkness
Food trucks, propane, tortured hearts
The reticent epistemologist parks
Gets out, checks the curb, reparks
Thunder of jets
Peristalsis of great capitals

How pretty in her tartan scarf
Her ruminative frown
Ambiguity and Reason
Locked in a slow, ferocious tango
Of if not, why not

motion makes us cough :: terese svoboda

Emotion is more electrical,
our foot caught on the cord,
the blink we have to take.

Don’t explain, says the little bird.
Don’t tell who we are either.
Up and down the tarmac

fly guns in crates like sausages,
links of what we think we need.
Not me, not me,

chirps the chirper. But
there we are, yelling again,
or crying, or frying—

blinking. Manmade
fritz lies
behind muscle and even

brain. Why, that smile,
while not shocking, belies
emotion’s grounding: sic,

read as written, if we can,
with these dark plugs out.
We will still cough.

reading :: joanne burns

there were so many books. she had to separate them to avoid being overwhelmed by the excessive implications of their words. she kept hundreds in a series of boxes inside a wire cage in a warehouse. and hundreds more on the shelves of her various rooms. when she changed houses she would pack some of the books into the boxes and exchange them for others that had been hibernating. these resurrected books were precious to her for a while. they had assumed the patinas of dusty chthonic wisdoms. and thus she would let them sit on the shelves admiring them from a distance. gathering time and air. she did not want to be intimate with their insides. the atmospherics suggested by the titles were enough. sometimes she would increase the psychic proximities between herself and the books and place a pile of them on the floor next to her bed. and quite possibly she absorbed their intentions while she slept.

      if she intended travelling beyond a few hours she would occasionally remove a book from the shelves and place it in her bag. she carried ‘the poetics of space’ round india for three months and it returned to her shelves undamaged at the completion of the journey. every day of those three months she touched it and read some of the titles of its chapters to make sure it was there. and real. chapters called house and universe, nests, shells, intimate immensity, miniatures and, the significance of the hut. she had kept it in a pocket of her bag together with a coloured whistle and an acorn. she now kept this book in the darkness of her reference shelf. and she knew that one day she would have to admit to herself that this was the only book she had need of, that this was the book she would enter the pages of, that this was the book she was going to read

desert :: josephine miles

When with the skin you do acknowledge drought,
The dry in the voice, the lightness of feet, the fine
Flake of the heat at every level line;

When with the hand you learn to touch without
Surprise the spine for the leaf, the prickled petal,
The stone scorched in the shine, and the wood brittle;

Then where the pipe drips and the fronds sprout
And the foot-square forest of clover blooms in sand,
You will lean and watch, but never touch with your hand.

 
September 1934

arroyo: flash flood :: john unterecker

The canyon walls close in again,
slant light a silver glare in brown water.
The water is only knee deep, but when the boy reaches the
   boulders—
purple dark, silvered by the smash of brute water—
water will tear at his chest and arms.
The walls of the canyon are brilliant in late light.
They would have glared red and gold for his drowned camera:
splashed blood to his left, to his right a wall of sun laddered
   with boulders.

More than boulders. Some stranger once fought down this
   cliffside,
his rope of twisted dry vines strung boulder to boulder,
clifftop to arroyo.    Escape.    Escape maybe.    Maybe bones
   in the desert.
I think of hands scuffed raw from the braiding.

Almost…. Water froths over the boulders,
tugs at the boy’s footing.    Almost….
The blood cliff to his left blinds him.    Blind nails scrape at
   two boulders,
a torn vine whipping somewhere above him.

He wedges knees against polished rock, pressing up, clawing
   slick stone.
Now.    Rope cutting his hand, he skids underwater:
silver and froth, a film of bright blood staining his eyes.
But he drags hand over hand up out of the water, climbing
   the sun
hand over hand, the ancient vines holding,
boulders for foothold, up out of that canyon.

an instrument also :: donald revell

The climate thinks with its knees.
When the wound opens, music suspires.
Opening a gate, I gain the color
below the roof tiles and the tree limbs.

You gave me
the late quartets
a black bird and
a white and the
Garden of Eden.
Your death belongs
to anyone but me.

I wonder so as not to forget. At night in Brooklyn, the tendrils
of a white sex denuded the sky, shimmering at the tall needle-
ends of buildings. The traffic was identical in the spring.

I am protected by only
music I cannot remember.
Why is it that the best
minds ended by composing
fairy tales? Death swarms.
There are many new beings,
the odor of hearts. The order

of the hour of mating ends. These are many
new butterflies, and death is no longer to
be eyed by a young girl, perhaps twelve years
old, slyly, as though the future were a man’s
sleeve or stride. I wonder so as not to end
dinner in a farmhouse. We sat at a low table.
Our host was dying but unaware, as she would
be murdered the next day in a distant city. There is an out-
side of language that is not silence. There is an outside of
God that is not isolation, a domestic animal teaching a dying
woman to hunt. A wound opens. A gate opens. Tendrils climb.

twilit :: star black

Moving away from rattled towns,
gaining, as a bird in a dishwasher,
an altered view, the owlish lakefronts
with their punch-clock crews

seem less luckless, the lunch-pail
chatter less dim; even recess seems pleasant.
Schoolmates from the third grade call
and nothing since matters,

you leap into kerosene waters
and swim, leaving the nervous talons
on a perch. The past doesn’t hurt,
the past is divine, everyone

the same age at the same time.
Moving is a white lie, a soft arrow.

the fire :: katie ford

When a human is asked about a particular fire,
she comes close:
then it is too hot,
so she turns her face—

and that’s when the forest of her bearable life appears,
always on the other side of the fire. The fire
she’s been asked to tell the story of,
she has to turn from it, so the story you hear
is that of pines and twitching leaves
and how her body is like neither—

all the while there is a fire
at her back
which she feels in fine detail,
as if the flame were a dremel
and her back its etching glass.

You will not know all about the fire
simply because you asked.
When she speaks of the forest
this is what she is teaching you,

you who thought you were her master.

to the ancient order of legs :: w. s. merwin

Barefoot all the way
from the embryo
and the drifting sands
where the prints washed away
untold lives ago
you were born to be
one of a number
upholding a larger
company on one
side or the other
always in the infantry
and singular though
at first you were many
balancing alternately
unable to see
where you were going
climbing along yourself
by the numbers in
a pace of your own
and stepping into
new talents positions
memberships bringing
the count down to
eight and four and two
coming in turn to be
less dispensable
half solitary painful
surviving ancestor
heir to the distances
sustain the limbs of friends
you that have borne the world
this far in us all walk on
light on your feet as
the days walk through the days