1. Until Then
The moon is far away
and for once I am with the moon
refusing to re-make the world.
Bears come down from the mountains
shut forever in awful cupboards.
There are no bridges, not really.
I watch the end of August
fold into itself, and wait:
footsteps vanishing on bones.
So long television. Goodbye great fields,
concrete cathedrals. I could care less.
Each year the bending light
pulls me farther along.
But I've been meaning to ask
if you can also hear the sound of weeping
through the cracks of your windows.
I cannot forget what I want
living in the mountains.
The creek is swollen with draught
and I climb higher
longing for news of fat marmots.
Will only emerge when sacred things
go back to safekeeping.
Nothing is as it used to be...
write back soon.
2. You Left for London, Anyway
Soft is a slip of hair sliding down
favorite flannel shirt, singing
as boats pass back and forth
in the sound. Soft is footsteps
sinking into sun warmed sand,
indentations left in the sheets.
Soft is skin, sometimes soft
as silk. Soft is say it ain't so.
Soft is don't say it at all. Of course
I'm the soft one, the one that moves
the way a river moves:
softly shifting over floodplain,
salty at the mouth of the sea.
3. Valediction, Bending
After all these rivers and towns, mountains
and wheat fields, chasing
down all these dirt roads the next dirt roads-
stars, dimmed down by headlights
of oncoming cars headed to Dayton
tell me nothing. Three days from now
somewhere between Phoenix and Tucson
I'll be stranded in a dust and lightening storm.
Three years later pick up the sun bleached pieces
and move on. But now is when
the blue black night sings its dirge.
Lean back on the hood, still warm
from climbing out of the canyon,
and listen: Isn't dusk just dusk,
aren't mountains just mountains.
Each one of these rivers catches me
leaving this life I don't want to leave.
We are the thickness of molasses, the thickness of oatmeal,
the thickness of starch, the thickness of crude oil.
Did you get the avocados? Dig out the potatoes? Slice the lemons?
I am bread and water. I am warm breath. I am humidity. I am tangle.
I am the way our fingers won't let go once they touch. I am the bending of will.
I am stalks of wheat in the afternoon wind.
Might we have thrown rotten squash and fishguts into the woods in the hope
that the raccoons would return. Might we have never seen what we saw
and then called other things by names we had premonitions of: Like wheat.
Like agave. Like orchids. Like gypsum. Like death.