Poetry

Poetry

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.











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.

The agonie

Philosophers have measur’d mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staffe to heav’n, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sinne and Love.

Who would know Sinne, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skinne, his garments bloudie be.
Sinne is that presse and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev’ry vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice, which on the crosse a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love in that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

Praise prepositions

Going down the list: after against among
around, I think how trivial they are,
how low their self-esteem,
how like safety pins they merely connect.
Prepositions are the paid help we’re not allowed
to talk to, the maids in black uniforms
who pass hors d’oeuvres at parties.
Or rather, if we could laugh together,
they would be the forbidden joy
leaping like sparks between us.
Who can survive without connection?
All winter, green waits for the sun
to wake it from its nap and so we say
sunlight lies on the grass.
Even the simplest jar connects—jar
under moonlight, on counter, jar in water.
Imagine prepositions in the Valley of Dry Bones
stitching the femur to the heel,
the heel to the foot bone. And afterwards,
they got up to dance. Between, beside, within
may yet keep the chins and breasts
from tumbling off Picasso’s women.
If I could, I would make prepositions the stars
of a book, like the luminary traveling the navy sky
the night sweet Jesus lay in his cradle,
pulling the nameless, devious kings
toward Bethlehem, and us behind them,