For a long time no one lived
in the house across the street
and so the yard’s tall grass,
and through the reedy sheen
amid the endless ticking
I would lie down
where the neighbor’s mural of jungle animals
once dancing on their wall
revealed no message to the hunters.
Siberia was then a word
for a lot of snow, as though
it could fill an empty world.
In my night table drawer
I kept pieces of colored thread
and tied them together
kissing my hand.
I’d heard a family
had been murdered in the next town,
a girl too
swinging in the park.
I would close my eyes, let go
and jump off the swing
like it was nothing.
An abandoned trailer sits
on the sandlot, coyote prints
leading up to it, back window
shattered, door flapping open
to a trashed room: crumpled
clothes, rusted coal shovel,
almost full tube of toothpaste—
What ties me to this life?
For many days I’ve wandered
through the weeds like a goose
dragging its broken wing,
seeking some tenderness.
August is my body strewn with pinecones.
Sun dapples my forest feet.
Having no toes, I can’t walk to the water.
The mossy trunk sinks into my skin after so many years.
All the brown hairs I’ve shed!
Fallen one by one, each carries a scent now woven through
many vessels and breezes.
Naked, my life will be put to the notes of cricket wings.
for Linda Gregg
I think you would have liked
that I lay All of it Singing down
in the wet grass to tie my shoe
this foggy morning on the bog
amid the slight stir of the rusted
needles on a pine branch, turning
to your poems again as I walk
into my own blind space, the splash
of the frog too quick to see, water
ringing into nothing I can follow.
The heron’s just taken off, rasping
because I’ve come too close.
Something’s in the fallen haze.
A silk tent wavers in the weeds, a shelter
that traps what it can. Overhead
the swan sounds like the hinges
of a swing a child is pumping
to a place where “The soul barks,
the soul meows” under, over and
through the call of the dove
and the ache to be lifted
by a feather on the road.