Poetry

Poetry

O afterwards

And may the old life, that rotting flesh and treasure
find in the good pleasure

of Christ, a forgetfulness complete: that these sins, however
humanly deliberate my misbehaviors,

be blotted from the record of God, raptured like the night’s thief,
forever gone, newly clean.

And may this new self shine like the moon shone, long ago, before
she was rent by the devil’s incisor,

a whole, round body not meant to be broken in phases.
And may she sing your praises

like Golgotha sings of a tree: for there is nothing empty
that cannot be filled. And may the sea

and all things swimming it thirst no longer for Living Water.
And may the Father

know the Daughter, even as the end of the earth unfolds.
And may I turn to gold.

















How you know which one is yours

It’s the logistics that trip you up.
You should have bought large garbage bags
to put the clothes in, though they aren’t garbage,

still with his smell in them, burlap and lemon.
To trick a sheep whose lamb has died
farmers flay the dead one
and put its fleece on a living one
so the mother will suckle it for her own.

You put on his warm barn coat.
There’s a tissue in the left pocket.
The president said today every effort
is being made to keep the troops safe.
All the other pockets are empty.







Blue water

Those days, I sat on our front porch
holding my daughter, my arms
and chest vibrating with joy like a tuning
fork. Atoms of our happiness fell in
on one another like gears turning
at the heart of the universe. When
stars came out at noon, the meadow
of my hollow hand was filled up
with strange light. How can it be now
that we are two separate islands
in an ocean of blue water? I think
of my own mother long ago, sitting
on her porch with me. That distant island.
When my daughter sits on her porch
this summer, holding her own child
I will watch her from my island.
I will call to her over the blue water.

Trespasses

Among small things there are no boundaries
Not the sparrow, but the spot the sparrrow leaves
Between the shaking limb, the sunlight and the trees

Beetles discard themselves as husks
Even galaxies pass right through one another
Not us, not we middle beings

We own and occupy, stack stones at borders
We find what we lack everywhere and lack
Everything we find, wanting everything

I wait until you are asleep and warm
To touch your hip, and voice your name
To ascertain whether you are there—or only I remain









Synge at Dun Aengus

At the white line of the shore,
where sight loses sense—
to the sure edge of things—I’ve carried me west.

No hope now in Paris . . .
its finery and absinthe,
nights marbled with comfort. And truth? But a tenth

of the whole: lichen
hard upon stones.
Gray within some grayer gray. The only motion—a lone

gannet glides above
the steel-dark surge. Galway
lumbers, crumbling, under an old Imperial sway—

its harbor lights spark
from ages out.
Rock, turf and shore. Here, at least, no doubt.

There is the sky.
There is the sea.
There is the narrow road down to the quay.