thursday, the park

out front the white stone
pavillion jugglers juggling
hula hoops with quick twists,
fire dancers dancing unlit
practicing,
gesturing at luminence.

two old couples lock step
in split rows, first the husbands,
ball-capped, sun-glassed,
hands jammed in blue jeans,
missing lassos and new ash,
then wives, hands folded,
matching-bloused, they stop walking,
turning to the other, fall silent,
look briefly, walk again.

legs, dogs,
bicycles,
bagged beers

the base of an oak,
still unleaved, flush with
dandelions and
the sun that they've got still.
this they're permitted.

and I, I in the grass
matting patches all splayed,
I write as still caught
in the blade-by-blade beauty,
tremorous and unconcerned,
of the grass shimmering,
careless as the breeze

we don't mean to
hurt so bad.

and so we find some
limits to intention,

as the blue flax
blooming thoughtlessly
in sun-soaked gravel.

you and I weren't made
for loveless looks
if made is what it was
and not some lucky coalescing
as jupiter and ganymede
and I in orbit.

yet you and I
can be still languid things
in darknesses
that shake off years til
we strip ourselves again,
cling to stones and bare ankles,
lastly reach
to touch fingertips and find
the distance just an armslength.

you and I
two points twisting in the starlight.

post nasal drip and
the south side snow melting slow
in the shade.

we like winter better here,
dry in the sun it feels
lighter without all those clouds.

february shadows are fine
but the flowers dried hanging in windows
smell only so sweet.

give me a promise in pastel
featherlight and floating on guests,
a crocus betraying the lot.

are you now the oak tree,
the one grown not from acorn
but a sapling you stole
from down the road,
dug up, then planted by the shed?

you watched it get tall and
thick with pointy leaves and
I still wince in summertime
when my bare feet land on
an acorn fallen in the grass.

or are you now the knobbled apple
that gives its shade for august naps
and whose windfall fruit shared
their last summer with you?

or the black walnut
with its little stones that
stink of bitter earth and july
and stain everything they touch?

if not these
where else could you have gone?

these bananas
are too green.

I'm sure they've
seen a lot,
being so well-traveled
and all.
But they
are too green

I knew this
seeing them
there on the shelf
looking birght,
undisqualified:
I wanted bananas.

now unfairly
hoping sweet,
starchy firmness,
whose fault
is this?

if I weren't
so hungry
they might
ripen.

I read a letter
never sent
old
it'd be crumpled too
but it's all digital
black, white, and blue
and if I wanted
I could make it blink
like it were
all fresh again
and I'd say
that I'll just
check the spelling
and send it.

it's not to say
I haven't thought
of you — only
that the train
was too damn crowded
and I wished
you'd wanted
to come downtown
for me.

in short:
why's it I remember
first your teeth
and then
your eyes?

who
am I
to hear
the morning
birds
and think
they might sing
for me?

and who
are they
to sing
so sweetly?

ranunculus repens

trampled buttercups
like careless papers
crumpled little things
still so eager to be bright.

quiet little things,
beat so low by heavy rain,
all teary with the dew
of morning, look so solitary,
weeping in a meadow.

you weren't made to sit in mist
but sunlight,
from the mountains and
off the lake,
with yellow strong as anything.

bucolia

well one day, then,
supposing we don't drown first,
we'll go and find some flat place
between the mountains and a creek
snaking simple through the grasses
where we'll fish trout.

tomatoes will do nicely in the sun
and come autumn woody squash
like rocks and stones, we'll laugh
cutting through to seeds.

endless roots and beans, we can
play cards and sweep,
listening to the frost capped grass whispers
once the birds are gone.

then the rain, and we'll bloom
delicate purple, bleeding sticky
yellow for the bees.

the silk plants
by the window
don't need water.

but to them
the sun means
nothing,

less still
the breezes
and the bees.

the smell of
the snow on
the street —

maybe it's just the
salt mingling with tar

— and the crunch,
soft under my
sneakers.

I remember them,
and when the find me again
I'll be seven,
catching snowflakes.

we are not the cormorants,
sturdy in the wind
baking arms outstretched in the midday heat,
dense salty clumps of feathers in the grass
near the inlet.

neither are we the osprey
who watch, mostly, for small motions
and who might be unseen completely
but for wide nests on tall poles.

you and I,
we're the sand smoothed old shells,
soft and purple-striped,
that didn't wash out with the tide
and wait in starlight to tumble again.

maybe I could be
the orange you peel.

tear into me
with those nails and

watch my skin spray
sweet mist in the sun.

smoke a little

and be an astronaut
in the living room

WWM