An Early Breakfast

When we started-  as in the beginning
the hour between darkness and gentle
comings of light,  the kind of light that
rises sweetly, a piano's hesitant fingers
inconfidently practiced, a room full
of virgins who see love through an open
window and shyly approach or smiles
driven from their shadow-

we were ignorant and beautiful.

And as I've shared this bread, this fresh
vase of tulips cut precariously, imprecise
at breakfast how many years I've turned
your eggs just as you've liked them,
my slightly weathered hands, flour on my apron
I should so forgive your vanity as you have

forgiven mine. 


To be human is to forget the body,  to leave
behind those you love, those you hate,
to drag the unwilling soul through its white dust
with an invisible hand whose bones resist
forces of heat, of water, of wind

to a place no one returns recognizable.

To abandon the mother who made your bed, gave
you to your father, the father, in his search for
perfect light, who caused your death, buried you
in darkness, a cloud of brown moths gathering-

this too, you must forget.

Consider light, how it sits unbroken, quiet
on a summer leaf illuminating form and color,
the way it disappears completely without
shape or judgement.  How it gives its life

to save another.


Miracles and Logic

Today, the gathering of clouds.  Tomorrow,
the small, black umbrella in its sheath.
I am prepared.  I am waiting.

What hearts are made for.

And you stepped out of darkness the way
a bird lands, blind but precise, holding on
to the last strong branch

as if you planned it.

We know how it works, the physics of it,
the wing span, the tiny, hollow bones, how
miracle disguises itself as logic;

a forest of birds taken for granted.

Then rains come, you swept up by wind,
a reason to expect the world will turn
on its sterling axis, the same dark storm

to guide you home.


His Father's World

For your father, I forgive you, his spiders
made your webs.  On a cloudy day, head bent
back, black boughs obscure the sky, a tangled
trap;  how you weep when they hold you.

Water never was enough, I forgive you still
for swimming in the drink or deeper through
the veins.  Yes, his arms were large enough
to save you but they never reached you.

This is not a eulogy for your father or your
helplessness;  every secret too is beautiful
and cursed.  Some see light where light has never
set a foot or shadow in the brightest world.

How do I know I can forgive you;  can you
hear me, these few well-chosen words?  Within
my heart a space as wilde as mountains, there
among the rocks and flowers is a saddened boy

burying his father.

Point of Reference

Time and the myth
of time, here and gone,
small, then large;

so close, the soul confuses
geography with heart.

From a window
near the bed, the sky
is caught.

In the middle
of a field, the stars
are countless.

In the room
of a world, the light
is curved

but disappears
once opened.  Who
could blame it?

The Paper and Its Hour

I'm where I wanted to be, this little desk,
a vase of flower.  In these moments, the voice
is weak, the pen, loud and lively.

The relationship of ink to paper all feathery
tailed and eyes, a busy heart, a wind
in the dress of an owl;  the one

that watches always.

Here night's cloudy spirals converge into
a tower on the sea, a flock of bird dispersed
like powder in the floodlights.

This is where I want to be, most beautiful
and helpless hour, the invisible bone
of word, white skeins of dream

and so the story.



The Man Who Cried

I've considered your point.  Your dark
synagogue, I've studied its corners,
how beautifully the shadows crawl
into metaphor;  a sorrowful man
is a good man, a window covered.

You used to be of light, your absence
touched me, carried me to sleep's large bed
where fires shrink, burn out, freeze
the image of your body on my heart.
My eyes were made for darkness, how

they pull you towards me.

In this graveyard we call night, your secrets
are the midnight flower whose purpled
petaled faces consummate our final hours
in lightless-ness.


The crazy lies, the incredible detail
of faerytales.  I keep a record of
each assertion; 

would we live differently if apples
were apples, not enchanted fruit
laced with poison?

I'm tired of magic;  it's a lovely thing
to die at the end of a story.  This is
exactly when we know

we've grown tired, insist on closing
the book before the treacherous
win everything and everything

is lost.


It's too early to tell, once folded,
how deeply the heart will wrinkle.

I'm going to visit my mother
in a dress too large for dancing,

the anonymous body hiding
a small child in its creases.

I know the mind remembers
where it came from, broken twigs

retain the shape of trees that
made them; winds or squirrels

to blame.  Who never taught
the girl to dance or fall gracefully,

to lie beneath the feet that bend her?

In a dress too large for folding,
her hands curled lightly resting

like a blanket on an unmade bed,
the daughter's bones a perfect copy

of a prayer, the kind you whisper.


Dorothy's Opinion

Poor girl, you're stuck with him.  That spring
I dreamt of midwest tornadoes;  I'm sure
I was one of them.  Do you think my twisting
hips were forgiving?  And a ring spinning

like a top, sparkling on the surface of
sea... a gift or warning.  I've heard
no one in Kansas has seen the ocean
or would choose to die in it.

I would.  In the rain and wind, wheat
stalks, in the motion of bodies of water
bend and turn in the distance like a
California storm.

Practice Sleep

These levels of seductive
thoroughness, sleep and the meaning
of sleep.  How I wanted to say
"this smooth, round stone is mine"

Kiss, the way a bird will rise,
sweet, weightless art, the leaving
of the world for cloud, for sky
for nothing-ness.  I love

the journey up, the closing
wolf-like bite of love snapping
flesh and wings.  Sleep,
hungry sleep

swallow me.


No one wants to believe
their silly lives are planned
or borrowed.  In truth, the shattered
pull themselves together

Imagine the risk of love,
a falling body, a thing of doubt,
a creature burning in its darkness.

More carefully, the crude tool
carves its symbol on the heart,
a primitive word that speaks
uncertainly of light,

express yourself or die.


Fate Loses Its Grip

Suddenly like a rib
caught up in its muscle,
the door slams shut.

Natural the instinct
to release it, to pry
it open.  Perhaps,

life is nothing but
a habit afterall.


A Piece of It

No one should talk about stars
as if they had hearts or ever felt
envy or pleasure or love. 

How many people in this world
expect the light to last as if
they ever owned it?

Some nights, the moments pass
right in front of us like a pocket mirror
that catches someone else's smile-

just a piece of it.