|Jan/Feb 1999 Poetry|
I walk out on the roof to wait the snow
Falling along the gutter, the sidewalk,
Fence top. It blows in lines, insensibly
Brushing everything to white beneath it.
I could be warm in skirts of darkness.
With snow comes the scent of walnuts shells,
Brass candlesticks and hardwood fire, hemlock
Wreaths and cinnamon, and someone stirring
At the stove, a woman's thighs, her hair like smoke,
The darkness and the petal-flashing fire
Of snowflakes past the cold surrounding me
Like sturdy cotton cloth. The neighborhood
Has disappeared. In some dark sleeping house
Beyond the bitter sheen a chimney burns.
What once were taller than a house,
A scalp of dewberry and sandspur,
The other side bare and steep
As a woman's white body sunning,
Are now these lumps just high enough
For a lizard and a bush. Raindrops
Disappear into the dimpled sand
Like acts of kindness dissolving in the world.
She Comes and Goes
All the way out from the distant city,
He sat by the wing with the engine's hum
As if his going down might matter
To the working machine, or to the ocean
Below or to his silent brethren
Erect in their speeding solitude.
She was not in that city. At home
He cut pink and yellow roses
For the pricking of his thumb. He ran
To let the sweat break and run.
He married faces by telephones,
Steering wheels and cats in arms.
He found a copy clerk kneeling
Beside her machine like a nereid
At a stream. Hair flowed, rocks tumbled,
Papers fell into the tray, into the tray,
While the sky's reflection melted
The copper-clouded window tint
Like gold flowers in a sun-filled canyon.
His first class seat reclined, the blue-
Aproned woman served him well
As both his mother and his bride
Until the brazen tarmac cupped the wheels
Of the bellied plane and brought him safely down.