if we are to shun that love,
why not this? where does
the deadening stop, the
cold fence end?
are not the fields and
wildflowers thronging sunwards
too many for our feet
to know? do not the grains
bending wind-blown stalks
all fall to the same ground?
to have received the confession of; to have imposed penance on; to have granted absolution to
if we are to shun that love,
goodbye future i am stepping
down and this will have to suffice
vis a vis our communication
you can’t muster the effort
to reply to even one email
or stop the ice caps’ melting
you still ignore the refugees
the torrents and bleached trees
like so many bodiless teeth
the coffee mugs collecting
on your desk are cold and moldy
and let me tell you this future
ruin doesn’t leave footsteps in the sand
only dunes on dunes on dunes
Snows like this catch you funny, like a blade of grass pushing through the city sidewalk where it shouldn’t—maybe you expected it, maybe you didn’t, but there it is, minding nobody’s business but its own. They drive a wedge between you and the world that exists past the end of your nose, between your heartbeat and your breath. It doesn’t matter whether you knew the snow was coming, or have or haven’t ever seen this type of snow; here it is, and here you are in it, small like the pile of rocks half-buried in a snowdrift down past the shed. From the hill, you see the mountains, flattened into silhouettes, grey forms magnified by some trick of the light as it filters through miles of falling snow.
They salt the soil to spite the rain.
Only on paper is the site’s name
held, the memory of a people.
Their teeth sleep here, white, like
seeds inside pomegranate skulls,
skin red and tough and not yet
overripe, an invitation to remain wed
and buried in all the ancient strata,
the shields’ iron story unto the earth.
Man in bearskin bear suit, face uncovered, on the side of the road, lined with dry high altitude golden grass and dry sparse reddish pines, a ridge perhaps, hitting a beehive at the end of a bent-over branch, and the bees are falling into a container he is holding in his other hand. “Get in there!” Looks at us in the car briefly. I notice his face isn’t protected. He is covered, except his face, in bees now.
I saw a beautiful person in the bookstore today. Dark eye eyeliner on and around her eyes, like small bruises. Black, but not heavy. Light. Like skin.
She was my age, maybe, but seemed more put together. Perhaps the makeup. Or the effects of the afterimage.
In line one person behind her, I waited. When she was done and stood a bodylength away to my left, I thought she was waiting for the woman behind her. But she wasn’t.
Maybe her standing there afterward meant something. Maybe her expression, hanging before my eyes like a retinal flare, was a reflection of the same pause, the same instant sense of recognition. Maybe I didn’t stop to look long enough.
I wanted to follow her and ask her number. But that couldn’t happen, not now.
Funny, the things a relationship brings. The sense of lost destiny, even when I never had the courage to follow it in the first place.
in these parts
the camel driver says
he laughs in white
eyes lazy with heat
but without which no trail
singes the dunes
a line of imagined fire
sand says the other
we would not live but for
as a boat without the river
reeds without the river