We can claim the quiet times
of late night
with our own particular language
derived from things we don’t speak of
in the light of day;
at night, the moon is our witness
and she understands shadowy promise.

Nine Ways of Seeing a Tree

(after Wallace Stevens)

I
Among hills and roads on the way home,
there is a tree that cradles the sun
as it takes its place each morning.

II
I feel my thoughts sway
like the branches of the tree,
to and fro, this way and that.

III
The tree is steadfast
in its role of observer and keeper of roots.

IV
It is hard to see movement of days
standing alongside a tree,
except the way the leaves move
as wind turns from the sun.

V
I know some given names of trees
but most I do not know
and I know it does not matter
what we call ourselves because we are One.

VI
When the tree bent before the wind,
I learned humility
and forgot my pride.

VII
As the leaves reached beyond branches,
the trunk of the tree swelled
with excitement at discovery.

VIII
The tree is shifting.
We must be shifting too.

IX
It was a quiet wood
in the middle of unnamed places
in the middle of the city
in the middle of my daydreams.
And it was blessedly quiet inside the tree.

Before the bloom

The sun is spilling over the hills,
making dew on the winter grass
sparkle as mist rises with the day.

The house has been closed up
so long, the nest is musty,
the views rumpled, and it is quiet.

There are faint groaning sounds
from the trees as they feel new shoots
ready to rise from below.

Two geese make their way
across an open sky full of promise,
unconcerned with the rest of the flock.

It is almost time for a change
but there are still some moments
of quiet left before the bloom.

Disappearing at lunch

With Wallace, the minutes passed by
like a moving sidewalk at the airport.
Nobody noticed where I was, or wasn’t
which is common as I blend in somehow
despite my loudness and my curiosity.
I learned how another man speaks
to his other woman – concise and clear,
whereas with me, it’s a meandering tangle.
I am wildly uncertain if I will ever be
untangled, or if we will speak to each other
in ways meant to transcend all form.
But for a bit of an afternoon, we fit.

Not impossible

They said the green island turned red
but it was like Mars -which looks more
a rusty brown. Across town, I saw the tunnel
had cracked green tiles and I wondered
if parts of earth have sympathy pains-
like earthquakes in one place
and rains in another- that may be related
beyond air currents and geological shifts.

It’s not impossible. Because my heart
has learned to keep time with a poet
outside my valley and the moon
keeps getting larger in the window.
Love, I want to say, you are my moon,
growing larger in my landscape
but it’s hard to know if he can hear
over the cracking earth and windy nights.