Did You Know
Did you know? Nature
sprang fully formed from the furrowed brow
of Man at the moment he wiped
the smog from the glass and saw
mirrored the long tilt-angled slide
follow, ineluctable, the set-piece denouement
of wild ranges on his barren scalp;
when, then and after, the nicking glide
of the three-blade razor along familiar tracks recalled
the violent victory of sharp-jutting pubescent
elbows hewing an impatient path to being
and a virgate share to plough with
parallels that stretch clear into next Spring.
in the long night of winter, in the long ago,
before even the Wife's discomfiting lament
for the dryad who gropes in the forest dusk no more,
the beveled quill by its very whisper recounted
this: that in songs full sung in echoes passed
away, the dragons were slain already,
the wolves o'erthrown, the languid moon unpursued,
the stalkers in the night subdued,
by the throes and quarrels of a noisy, nameless love
whose mingled bones slumber still beneath
the moors so worn like teeth to nubs by use and care
they might rest now tumultless
like a velvet pool of ink
in the well of a hollowed palm.
Home is the country that never was,
the stair forever one step lower than before,
open to parapets without horizons
Peace is a silver-dollar streetlight against my blue-dark sky.
I shoot it nightly with a slingshot.
The swarm perturbs me, of fragile muddled moths
that want only warmth and, given half a chance,
would serve up their lace wings in a chalice of flame
slurped up by the kind of leering bloated cadavers
that delight in such spectacles. Remember,
I whisper to them, when the milk glass shatters
in a sprinkle of chimes and, bond severed
like the breaker flipped on taut high voltage wire,
they disperse as smoke unseen against the dusk,
a truce kept is a fight unwon, a mad lost hovering
about false hopes that wait unweary for a slow extinction,
an attrition beaten on wing by tender wing.
Somewhere, a thin tired thing tops off the kettle
and the oil and trims the wick and rocks her chair
until the scars of peace are written on the floorboards
and beneath her eyes, while the pegs above the door rest empty
and a love that never was returns not tonight nor any night to come.
I let my pebble soar, and the breaking,
like waves on a headland or a plough in trampled soil,
churns death under one more time.
On a distant corner drawn on a rime dark sea,
there is forever Earth. We came in peace
from our own cold wastes of terror, lit
a fire hungered for in the nights of forgotten mothers
when the sky was a belly full of stories, made
a new unbrutal myth for supple lolling-heavy headed necks
to crane against and settle. And then were gone,
dots bursting and fading in a pale ray
and the miles became as long as they used to be,
in the same way that a track trudged too often
feels slower by the day.
How, in a boxed inset on the page of a single life, does impossibility
become unremarkable, and vanish back
to paper on a drywall nursery?
As removed from sinuous cave wall lines
as I am from blooming hips in the unkindled lap of long ago;
as forlorn as a glimpsed beacon of escape
in a rush of wind in the hush of night
from a prison never before perceived to be,
that turns to the reassuring crimson blip
of the hallway smoke alarm,
while the twilight deepens on the popcorn ceilings
and the shades are drawn.
Was the man caught between in freefall,
footprintless, the loneliest who ever was?
Does the fading recall of the touched beyond
haunt less than suppressing fire in the eyes of
a man returned to sender, not unmarked?
How lonely we must all be, we all together
twisting on the spit of a reach whose grasp exceeded it
on the desert island of our bearers' bones, merciless,
without a hand to grasp in the gathering shadows
or any road to ever take us home.