Lines Torn from a July Morning
… anything but this disappointment.
Words dressing and undressing the tense morning. What if. But then. Why not.
I’d give you Jupiter’s moons if I could. Or a deep summer sky. Maybe the sea at dawn – I know you’d love that.
The cold stream in the woods at Backbone – that would do. Wind filtered by trees. And enough time to climb the stone steps of the damp trail.
A towhee in the Cleveland pear on our hill.
Spoons in a bowl. Your lemonade under thick clouds.
And enough forgiveness to float any house of brick or wood. I say it best when I say nothing, but that’s not enough. It never is. The voice is a lonely thing. It remembers every throb, and only wishes to be heard. Being understood isn’t what it needs. Just an ear.
Some Last Things
So many words to say now he’ll never say though
he feels their weight in silence, though he needs
their meanings, he knows he won’t find them,
still they bite at his tongue – what he once questioned
he knows for fact, what he once believed, he’s long since
forgotten or dreamed away – if you whisper your truths,
they’ll disappear, he’d say, so he never whispers them –
and when he does speak, his voice is the wild thud
of trees falling, oceans from here in cool shimmers
of rain, in the hot curl of asphalt, in all the time needed
though there’s so little now to do, and he’s prayed deep
into the hole of his aching, but that’s not how it ends –
in a hush, in the beetle’s scratching at the baseboard,
a bullfrog’s croaking from the dark rocks in his pond,
his cane leaning against the opened window
Little by Little, the Beautiful World
– the state library, Berlin, 1987
People that do come here are the sort that have something lost, a hole
to fill. They never miss. I watch them. On Saturdays a huddle of kids
and story time. The furious and determined note-taker, sketching
dunes and rocky wastes, as though only she could find the beauty in
such a place. The one who comes every Thursday to write and write in
a small notebook. Never seems to finish. The old man and his war
crimes. His thrown chair in a vacant lot, the only comfort, or is it guilt
for surviving. The woman who sits by the stairs on Tuesdays but never
reads anything. I wonder what she waits for. And the talkers by the
magazine rack with their great tales. The checkout desk. The unused
elevator. Such a lonely place when empty. All those books, and no
eyes to connect with. I clear my throat, scrape my chair over tile,
closer to the table, drop my shoulders, turn the page.