You shuffle between midnight piano melody
and this crazy deep-down wail
like hummingbird’s double harmony:
whose only axe is flight,
whose wings beat faster than a child’s pinwheel,
who repurposes thread of spiderweb to sew a nest,
who transposes snare to song.
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
–William Butler Yeats
Each morning one winter
I rose to claw and scrape
ice thick as orange rind
from my windshield.
Then, driving east,
I watched theatrical colors
light up the hogbacks.
While gloved hand gripped
the steering wheel, my mind
fashioned lines of poetry.
But poems slipped away like ice
melting down sunlit stems.
According to an article I read once,
the gold-tinged hogbacks on the horizon
are radioactive. Earth’s uplift
brings to surface and releases
stored radiation. Hike to see
the cliffrose buds explode into blossom:
On one branch, you count five petals,
but on another you may find clusters
of nine petals, or thirteen.
I’d like to believe that life cycles on without changing
much. The frost-heavy windshield, a display of Belgian lace,
same thread, new designs. But even as we stand
the ground beneath our feet lurches
What was hidden comes to light:
As if seated in our midst, the unknown—
an uninvited guest—explosive as a landmine,
charges and ignites.
Fragmented into a thousand pieces
the first casualty was my focus—
Once rainwater filled a water table, then
Froze: a thick layer of ice floated above the cold water,
All of a piece. When children lifted the disc
From its confinement,
It shattered into countless pieces.
Though I’ve heard the grasshopper has a thousand eyes,
And does quite well.
In the vastness of the universe
You are a speck of dust
From which light reflects.
You are also the eye of the needle
Through which God slips
Like thread to spin
The vast reaches of the galaxies
And stars whose dust you are.
Let it rain.
Let the rain fall in a steady stream.
Let the rain fall on the roof with the rhythm
of a handyman nailing shingles.
Let the rain saturate the hardened earth
and satisfy the root
that thirsts like a newborn infant.
Let the rain fall on our shoulders
and mold us to its contours
like rock weathered and worn by rainstorms.
Let the rain flow like fine wine
flowing at the wedding of Cana.
Let the rain pool into its liquid shapes
sinuous as a cat that pounces.
Let the rain murmur.
Let the rain sing a lullaby,
a post card from the ocean,
a mariner’s hymn.
Let the rain begin and end
in this moment suspended in time,
my shoulder blades clasped in your arms,
the bough above us, and the bud,
reflected in the puddle,
concrete now molded into shimmering mirror.