Poetry

Poetry

Weather report

The snow in North Dakota asks a question
with no question mark, no capital letter,
to indicate where it begins and ends
or what lies in the middle, for that matter.
The question is white and drifts above the cab
of the snowplow while in its orange light
people lean into the wind along the curb,
digging out cars that vanish in the night.

At home their dogs are silent, hearing no sound.
The cattle huddle and freeze, and buffalo
crossing the buried fence, free now to roam,
stand silver and stiff as nickels in the dawn—
eyes frozen wide and blank as if they tried
to comprehend the question while they died.





Praying with Luke

“When you pray, go into your room,” He said,
so each green dawn as spring light stirs, I sit,
womb-snug, in my small room, hushed high
above unfurling leaves, with Luke who’s all
of five days new, but solid as a loaf of bread,
and, oh, such wisdom; petal-soft, in and out,
I hear his breath. Receive. Release. That’s all
there is. Just this. Quiet. Nothing more.

Night sounds

          For Jay

At night your children ask
in cries for you to come to them

In the space between sleep and light
you pull on a baby sling, tuck in small fingers
soothing who you can. Not at all times mindful
what treasure you hold.

In the morning things align themselves
like dishes in a row
work to do, and people
who have need of you, always

The space will not always be there,
the night
      you meet your children in.
Someday not so long from now, no one
will wake you from your sleep and dreams.

Pictures will move behind your eyes
again, noise given only to floor boards,
traffic, a rotating fan.

But what is more grounded
than the pavement you tread at 3 a.m.?
weighty jewel against your chest.











Search engines

We’re here to gather evidence, to find
The DNA—or at least to lift the finger-
prints of Deity. A treasure hunt
With clues craftily concealed, but there
Nevertheless. If clouds drifting dreamily
Across the moon’s congested face won’t do,
Or waves that threaten passion in the
Higher sense, beyond a Category
Five, make you shrug, consider numbers,
Counting to infinity. Boot up
Your Apple, and see how many zeroes it
Can prophesy. Click a remote: note
How mice, unwired, can still point
To sites unmentioned in the manual.
Divide three into ten, and claim eternity.

Object lessons: Glue

“It did what I wanted it to do,”
said my sister of the carefully composed
little book of old family photographs
she’d arranged with sheer vellum slips
between the pages,
“so they could see through to the old
faces, maybe circle them, write things,
mostly gather round close and remember
because the book is small.”
Their knees would almost
have to touch.