We were driving along the road from Treguier to Kervanda. We passed at a smart trot between the hedges topping an earth wall on each side of the road; then at the foot of the steep ascent before Ploumar the horse dropped into a walk, and the driver jumped down heavily from the box. He flicked his whip and climbed the incline, stepping clumsily uphill by the side of the carriage, one hand on the footboard, his eyes on the ground. After a while he lifted his head, pointed up the road with the end of the whip, and said—
Pointer lay on the couch, fifty-eight pounds of eleven-year-old black lab mix with curly hair. She lay with her chin between her paws just like when she was sleeping, but I knew right away she wasn't sleeping.
"Hey, Pointer, kiddo," I said anyway. "Too hot to get up this morning?"
Pointer weighed seventy pounds just a couple of months earlier, but pancreatic cancer pared her down pretty fast. I hadn't really thought she'd be gone this soon, though. I picked her up off the couch and she didn't feel like Pointer, just like a big heavy sack of cooked oatmeal. I laid her down on the rag rug next to the coffee table.
Other mothers swim in the pool with their children, many of the mothers older. The sun puts a glisten on the ends of their hair. Their bodies underwater look unearthly. The woman in the lane next to me has wide shoulders like my grandmother.
We wrap our children in towels the same way: so that their bodies are swallowed warm with them. We hector them about sunscreen.
When I swim and I am entirely alone with my thoughts, my children only pass through my mind as topics.
I think today when my daughter and son lay together on the bed sleeping. His lanky body next to her curve. Is that not a poem?
5 August 2008
Sometimes I feel
like a dog in the sky,
a constellation of mostly not-me.
11 August 2008
What sigh are you
What reserve in store,
what cloud before you
reap? From the leavings
of whose field harvest
wind to speak?
2 August 2008
Your snout slit: biolology miff muff myth
Up front: scent enter
Aside: the slag
So as they say about shall the twins meet
And say get yers from out my line
And a line goes one way forever
8 August 2008
In the spirit of breathing I
Am before the face of I
Am in the image still I
Must eat or wear out I
Suppose the night tasted like sugar and the streetlamps chimed the hour, would Flemish and French slang still matter? I was a little in love with you. The man scouring the Sunday market for vintage postcards. The child wailing after a drifting balloon. You made me forget how to count. But we danced flawlessly, our shadows spreading on the Belgian cobbles where tiny grasses grow in between.
24 July 2008
and i am less and less myself.
i speak it when memory fails
i speak it when the river touches my ankles—cold
and close to meaningless.
27 July 2008
the newspaper smells like moth-balls & tells nothing.
chalk it up to _____.
everyday people get annoyed when _____.
just as the first dinner
after a difficult hour,
so with the wind's scratch & the calendar.
30 July 2008
so i got tethered to
the fixing of things—
funny this jar won't open hot
or cold, funny this engine
had more parts before i rebuilt it.
12 July 2008
This is the price
of a punch card
culture. Rip a few
mascots for the
bus ride over.
9 July 2008
The trees are making
fools of themselves.
I'm making faces
at the greedy river.
The sky spits
at us in our tiny
15 July 2008
Dear Honored Guest,
in fits and starts.
18 August 2008
This one's like tipping
your head back to take in the sky gone
with no timestamp, the rule of threes.
Seesaw, seesaw. One is like dust.
21 August 2008
It's going to be another bad winter,
as in, not a good example of winter:
you can sit on the beach in November
with no coat.
14 August 2008
Forces sky down
like a French press
over the boil. Constant cloud
but no rain—a tease without
the reprieve of a drop—
lonely as the kiss you want
to, but don't need.
26 June 2008
The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I'm drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—
if language can be a kind of crying.
9 May 2008
Here's what I'm trying to say: The deer coming toward us through the dark
and we're unable to see them
The car passing over the bridge into the maw of the city like a willing moth
suddenly wrapped in fire
2 July 2008
what keeps you up all night
listening to the neighbor
call his cats in: oh the animals
we might choose to save, put them
on a polystyrene ark to Mars: what
we start that finishes us: the seventy-
four degree day in December: …
29 June 2008
Your own body, broken into so many times, became a clear lake
for her to bathe in. Remember pulling the one tiny, suckering
leech from below her neck, the pale collarbone Braille it left.
20 June 2008
The poem about the sea
speaks in braille
blue translated twice.
Sun wet light salt waves etc.
17 June 2008
Last week, as you rode your bike home in rain
after cheating with a girl with hair the colors of hell,
you texted you'd been hit by spiritual lightning.
I want to be hit by spiritual lightning!
All evening I stood out on yellowed lawn
chanting in trimeter, holding a matched set of forks.
2 June 2008
Which one did you lose? Point to the black
cavern, sucked empty by the cell in need
of bones. And what else
did she thieve of skin stretched like loose
linen, and blood
5 June 2008
When I come, called, to the smallish
skylight, where a hornet huddles
in a cedar corner, trapped
by a metal sieve, wind entering
and leaving him, it is
a rough courtship.
Mine, as whom washed from spot of childbed taint
Purification in the Old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind.
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs …
Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman.
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
27 August 2008
The human tongue, in disbelief, obsesses
at the tender pit of a tooth,
insists on entering the empty room again
and again until it cankers…
For ten days now, two luna moths remain
silk-winged and lavish as a double broach
pinned beneath the porch light of my cabin.
Two of them, patinaed that sea-glass green
of copper weather vanes nosing the wind,
the sun-lit green of rockweed, the lichen's
green scabbing-over of the bouldered shore…
30 August 2008
I've learned, has nothing
in common with the relentless
metronome of carpenter bees
ticking off the aluminum siding
like the steady hail of olive pits
spit through my open window
the summer I learned to shake
martinis without bruising the ice.