Issue 165, Spring 2003
The addition of solitude untrammeled,
one and more and more but always
the inner life astray,
that equation incompatibly private.
The errors unrepenting that will not
come out right.
Tautology, tautology. What I’ve said
in argument cannot be taken away.
I’ve emptied my pockets of change.
These great washes of episodic light
across the walls—how facile
the reduction of passage to shape, and yet.
Once when I was burning
tracks away from home on hurried legs
the city appeared to me as a collection of boxes
in the streetlamps’ gloaming—
windows punched out of the dusk in proportion—
and complications resolved themselves
into simple desire.
Selfish but without remand.
Here I put what doesn't reflect
a perfect symmetry.
So I’ve aged. The stars are still
too high and far too sweet.
I’ve bloodied my knuckles trying
to climb up to them, fractious reminders.
Turn them out. Keep them safe
in a velvet-lined box.
This is what the spattering
of drops on a skylight imparts.
Rose-windowed church in the distance.
Making peace is not a possibility.
Clairvoyance tells me I’m right
but I’ve got no use for it here.
I string, instead, my days
with plausible joy.
What is rigid has its place,
a dimming to come back to.
What’s right is mutable.
Station to depart from, smoky
platform in the tiny hours.
Condensation gathered on the clock.
Pull the collar close. Leave conversation
watchful by the gate.
Gray as it is, the structure’s bulk
remains for acres into the fog.
Do you believe me now? Me
with my intimate knowledge
of omission, my life’s work
laid out in multiplicity?
It is possible, after all,
to be in more than one place at a time.
Anyone who’s been robbed can tell you that.
It isn’t a game. We learned it through loss.
Folly even to write of it.
I was made to hear and welter noiselessly.
O longing for the simplest of ways,
The hollow rush of wind off a lake in May.
Hymn to the unsurpassable so patiently awaited.