His hands have the luminous transparency
of some old hands, like vellum, and softly wrinkled,
blue veins rolling under sallow skin,
a chafed gold ring on his far finger.
He drops seeds for birds, the small
park sparrows with their nervous
fretting against the backdrop of grass and gravel,
quick eyes and cocked heads. The scene
they set both wry and lordly, at once confused,
material, busy, like the climax of a French comedy.
Moliere, Voltaire with vellumed hands, calling the places
of these airy aristocrats, now freed of dignity, and
caviling in the golden rain of seed--and aren't they funny?
No funnier than anyone who gets what they need.
Three early roses and a nightingale
Scene threaded out in tapestry
A needle idle in twilight. And
where will I find you growing?
The sun questions; the seed answers
Unfurling from any soil,
Slight flag among rocks or pastures. And
where will I find you singing?
The wind questions; the bird answers
Unfurling from any nest,
A banner over chimneys and rose bushes,
marking out the tapestry. And
Where will we find it hanging?
We answer the question:
Wherever our hands can weave.
All past and no future, or only
a future as seen by the past
with its rocketships and silver suits,
hovercars, lyrics, forms, experiments
that seem somehow more advanced than our own
moving ahead by looking in a rearview,
judging our position by the signals behind us.
Hunched over inside the sliding plates
legs curled perfectly as a gymnast
and shot, as if from a cannon,
by a carefuly flick across the drive
and rolling down toward the gutter.
You're nature's marble, a woodsmoke aggie,
an active mineral, cheaply mined and spent
in spinning you out of sight.
Hearts are that color, the candy ones
With messages printed in chalky script,
and feet in a sauna, the insides
of dog's ears, babies noses, raw chicken
and roses, azaleas, and saucer magnolias
at the end of season. Postcard sunsets,
antique china, burnt skin, yarn for booties,
expectations, the candy ones, whose
messages always read "what if."
The door swings open, a hollow wind
sends papers flying, and in the light
of the lone brass lamp you find
your red Persian rug, with its paisley twists
Covered in bluebirds eating suet seed.
The car drops you off, the curving road
still dusted with sand from winter plowing
studded with rail spikes, each one tying
the spotlight beam of a different star
In Ursa Major fast to earth.
The house shakes at night. Pulls loose
its moorings, sculling slowly around corners,
tracing an arc on the illuminated globe
that haunts your desk. It lights the dark
in technicolor: no path that pulls a waking map.