In the Fourteenth Year the Man with the Roses Came to Me and Said
“Bair The Child on your shoulders well,
wrap piano wire around her tiny wrists
and smear coal on the bottom of her soft fast feet.
Dust her with brooms and check all her first numbers.
Dye her shoulders gold and crown her with cold hammered brass.
During your short walk west pick and carry a stone
to the feet of The Mother.
Tear the leaves off the trees you pass
and think on the days when you were laden with a pack
heavy with marble and trees.
Think on the days when your dog ran to you
across acres of snowy caves.
Remember to apply sugar to your tongue
and tongue the swollen salt filled parts
that climbing trees and seeing far has left
on your tan and tawny body.
Go and wrap you up,
go and sweat into the earth.
The clocks have stopped so wind them back
and swing your shattered mountains high above your head.
your Winged Dancing Traveler,
your Snake in the Tree Stump are waiting for you
to slowly lid your eyes and come softly tramping back to them
across their fields of frozen wheat.
Let them all be lovers,
and in the course of the river there will be
a hunched and shining snag.
Go to her and beg at her roots that the world shall be well trod
and like the dirt paths that feet make,
draw us ever onward.”
He stood adjusting on the small white pedestal
Waiting for the lamb eyed crowd to bend their knees and soften
Looking out he weighed the gold that was still heavy in his heart,
Felt its warmth in his palm as he prepared to cast it into the
He loved and was loved as he gently sank his fingers into that
Small and Beautiful near his feet.
Her eyes wide she dipped as he slowly broke her bones,
And with mortar and pestle
Ground her to dust.
The green-eyed spectators stomped their feet in envy
As one by one they breathed her in
They curled their toes and smeared on the floor
Whatever they had been before.
He comes walking through the riotous masses
With eyes on fire
Dripping gold from his fingers into all of their open eyes
And leaves through the door he came in.
Examination of a Morning Three Days After an Autumn Wedding
The mess from days past is still scattered
around this sun-drenched autumn porch.
The ashtrays and whisky glasses brim filled with rainwater have,
every morning now,
Heard the playful screams of distant children and the sudden
silence of a newly mown lawn.
Fallen leaves blow into flat candle puddles
and the maple keys and cigarette butts
rest together in the old stone barbecue.
I too have been left here
among the broken wine corks and empty plates
so that I can listen to the hurried squirrels chatter as they end