Morning expands one rib at a time
speaks through the pinktops of pines On the porch
I write to a friend whose mother has passed
Blue fog is a doe that startles
at my cough I drink black water from its eye
This isn't about half-dreamt things
The veil over the lake about to boil a man
It's too quiet to answer anything but the tongue-colors
of the east fern-light slices from a mandoline
My words are bad acreage
I think of taking my friend’s grief for him holding it
above my head & wading out It is clear I can see the sand
I tell myself this is helping this is what the heart looks like working
Each step the outbreath
There is a boat & a man moving his line
He’s throwing longer & longer threads
to the still dark
That’s what the leaves are telling us tonight.
Hear them panic and then fall silent,
So though we strain our ears, we hear nothing—
Which is far more terrifying than something.
Minutes seem to pass, whole lifetimes,
While we wait for it to show itself
This very moment, or maybe the next?
As the trees rush to make us believe
Their branches banging on the house
To be let in and then reconsidering.
All those millions of leaves suddenly quiet
As if not wishing to add to our terror,
With something evil lurking out there,
And drawing closer and closer to us.
The house dark and quiet as a mouse,
If one had been brave to stick around.
I wanted to know there was nothing.
I kept knocking. When I touched
the door with my palm the wood froze.
When I called your name you slept behind
drifts of rain for nine hours.
There was snow in everything I spoke.
Your eyes filled with the green paralysis of
trees, months of wind at our lips.
Please don’t worry. The bell
that once rose from my throat
in breath below you blurs into the night.
I have less than I had when I first saw you.
Talking feels canceled when I stand alone
in the forest. Mother, your thinness is a letter
to my worry. I watch you work in the garden.
I confuse solitude with loneliness.
My hair is also grey kisses at sundown.
A doe strafes the ridgeline, until lost
in the thicket, only snapping brush.
God undressed in an arbor of madness;
I am his mannequin’s shadow.
My eyes empty the last clip of daylight
into the forest, and quietly
the rain on leaves leaves leaves clean.
A son’s no thing but a map to likeness.
You have tried to make me yours—
I think of the bones you broke to bring me here.
I promise, I am trying to love the world.
Say it is not impossible. Place
your flowers on the sill inside me.
I can’t have peace til I get what I want no more desire not now not now only after
awhile we needed a witness the water couldn’t wait underground another minute
before becoming spring I’ve never broken a bone before except when twisting it out
of a bird I am not a patient animal not now not now all the while you were dying all
the while you were overcome by radiation broken light still light you said same
ocean more than my fingers you said you wanted my fingerbones this skin