I sat on the lawn watching the half-hearted moon rise,
The gnats orbiting the peach pit that I spat out
When the sweetness was gone. I was twenty,
Wet behind the ears from my car wash job,
And suddenly rising to my feet when I saw in early evening
A cloud roll over a section of stars.
It was boiling, a cloud
Churning in one place and washing those three or four stars.
Excited, I lay back down,
My stomach a valley, my arms twined with new rope,
My hair a youthful black. I called my mother and stepfather,
And said something amazing was happening up there.
They shaded their eyes from the porch light.
They looked and looked before my mom turned
The garden hose onto a rosebush and my stepfather scolded the cat
To get the hell off the car. The old man grumbled
About missing something on TV,
The old lady made a face
When mud splashed her slippers. How you bother,
She said for the last time, the screen door closing like a sigh.
I turned off the porch light, undid my shoes.
The cloud boiled over those stars until it was burned by their icy fire.
The night was now clear. The wind brought me a scent
Of a place where I would go alone,
Then find others, all barefoot.
In time, each of us would boil clouds
And strike our childhood houses
That long-ago morning at Ruth’s farm
when I hid in the wisteria
and watched hummingbirds. I thought
the ruby or gold that gleamed on their throats
was the honeyed blood of flowers.
They would stick their piercing beaks
into a crown of petals until their heads
disappeared. The blossoms blurred into wings,
and the breathing I heard
was the thin, moving stems of wisteria.
That night, my face pressed against the window,
I looked out into the dark
where the moon drowned in the willows
by the pond. My heart, bloodstone,
turned. That long night, the farm,
those jeweled birds, all these gone years.
The horses standing quiet and huge
in the moon-crossing blackness.
the jock’s horse
the 7 horse
clipped the heels
of the horse
in front of
and onto the
who gave him
in the middle
the jock wore
3 or 4
people were now
as the ambulance
the man behind
said to his
“let’s go get’
Day after day, day after still day,
The summer has begun to pass away.
Starlings at twilight fly clustered and call,
And branches bend, and leaves begin to fall.
The meadow and the orchard grass are mown,
And the meadowlark’s house is cut down.
The little lantern bugs have doused their fires,
The swallows sit in rows along the wires.
Berry and grape appear among the flowers
Tangled against the wall in secret bowers,
And cricket now begins to hum the hours
Remaining to the passion’s slow procession
Down from the high place and the golden session
Wherein the sun was sacrificed for us.
A failing light, no longer numinous,
Now frames the long and solemn afternoons
Where butterflies regret their closed cocoons.
We reach the place unripe, and made to know
As with a sudden knowledge that we go
Away forever, all hope of return
Cut off, hearing the crackle of the burn-
ing blade behind us, and the terminal sound
Of apples dropping on the dry ground.
in my driveway
(for the whole eleven years
I have owned
but have not owned
I have never
Always on a plane.
Always in the arms
of man, not God,
always too busy,
that all along
are red, red raspberries
for me to taste.
Shiny and red,
unlike the berries
from the market.
I share them
with the birds!
On one perches
a tiny green insect.
I blow her off.
I burst the raspberry
upon my tongue.
In my solitude
with the world.
The world was always
if you are so beautiful
upon my ready tongue,
lie in store
He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.
And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.
He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.
He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.
Like a kitten playing
he was practising for the future
when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away
if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.
Just imagine yourself seated on a shadowy terrace,
And beside you is a girl who stirs you more strangely than an
It is a summer evening at its most superb,
And the moonlight reminds you that To Love is an active verb.
And your hand clasps hers, which rests there without shrinking,
And after a silence fraught with romance you ask her what she is
And she starts and returns from the moon-washed distances to the
And says, Oh I was wondering how many bamboo shoots a day it
takes to feed a baby Giant Panda.
Or you stand with her on a hilltop and gaze on a winter sunset,
And everything is as starkly beautiful as a page from Sigrid Undset,
And your arm goes round her waist and you make an avowal
which for masterfully marshaled emotional content might have
been a page of Ouida’s or Thackeray’s,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I forgot to or-
der the limes for the Daiquiris.
Or in a twilight drawing room you have just asked the most mo-
mentous of questions,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I think this
little table would look better where that little table is, but
then where would that little table go, have you any sugges-
And that’s the way they go around hitting below our belts;
It isn’t that nothing is sacred to them, it’s just that at the Sacred
Moment they are always thinking of something else.