Poetry - April, 2008

Poetry

Anatomy of seduction

        it turns out
the allure of hummingbirds
                has little to do

with their own rouge—
       instead, the thrilling
     iridescence of their
               wings depends

upon the distance

       between the ridges
of their feathers, dulling structures

        my guess we’d ignore,
were it not for some blessed
                  interplay

       with incident light









Poetry

After so much darkness

                      —for my father

After so much darkness, the field’s excess of light,
the day floating on itself as in a dream.
But it isn’t a dream, the small wound songs of the house finch,
the sun hammering the grasses’ bronze tips.
We had gathered about your bed

like a boat we tried to push off stony ground.
We wanted to help: we believed in the buoyancy of that water.
You held onto the ruins instead of our hands.
What did we know of how it is to look back at one’s life?

A bee swings from the nightshade.
Ants carry their burden up the post of the shed unmoved by song.The grasses bend under the weight of so much light.
And the balm of the wind: from the woods the singing of leaves.
Or is it the sound of water flowing?






Poetry

Grace

We say grace before we start
to eat good things together, as if
our thin voices could somehow
divine it. We call it table grace,
as if it were the elegance of furniture.
We say a woman has it in the way
she moves. We equate it with luck
sometimes, modify it with sheer
as if we could shave it to size.

Our gesture is not the real thing,
we know that, that’s wholly
Your deal. This is mere posture—
or should we say sheer posture—
a way to halt moving limbs, to cease
together here, to allow a tilt
toward gratitude

Poetry

Aging tulips

See, it’s not sweet youth
that touts a wildness, but crazy
old age. Beauty shifts. Plump
pink petals fall away, or stay,
curling every which way,
like stiff, unruly hair, dried
to a deep blood-red.

The once-upright congregation-
in-a-vase flops over, losing their
heads, but that’s all right. They
find another life in unconventional
gesture, extravagant dance:
this still troupe, ecstatic,
with nothing left to lose.

Poetry

Evensong

All winter the fish lounge at the bottom of the pond
squinting up now and then toward the cloudy light
beyond the ice, but mostly skulking behind cold wet shadows
like teenage guys down in the basement
hanging out, waiting for life to happen
dreaming elongated nursery rhymes
feeling the submerged sluggish vibrations of the earth
a faint quiver of the moon’s pull on the tides.

After Easter, though, they dopily drift toward the surface
where I am waiting patiently with
something like civilization in mind.
Sooner or later they’ll make the connection:
they get their daily bread from me.
And in return I get
a glimpse of their elusive grace,
their perfect freedom organized into evening ritual.