Turning the layers, looking for clues
In the archives, for repeated words
Rolled between fingers and thumbs
like worry beads, like phrases
From dead languages recited until
They become a kind of secret prayer,
Then lo and behold I find these lines
From the sweet singer’s lips to mine —
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun
— And I wonder at how we send,
Lips to ears to lips to ears again
And on and on, these ancient words,
Invocations of living and loving.
* in italics, from “Digging” by Seamus Heaney
I drag a shadow behind me
Or stalk close upon its heels
When the sun chases us both.
It haunts me even on cloudy days
Because, invisible, I can feel it
All the more, icy chill.
At night, it lies beneath me
But even then it’s neither still
Nor quiet; it is a rough beast
Squirreling through the walls of my mind.
is a word that reminds me of
seafood — scampi, scampfish.
it is a synonym of knavish
which reminds me of knives
oh the mischief we would make —
you with your heart-
shaped face and dark eyes
in which i see my reflection,
sketched in charcoal.
the moon is a solitary pearl
with a dumbstruck simpleton’s smile
curled around the tiny grain
of my solipsismal dreams
Your inhabit the words that follow
each other like fingered beads
on a rosary, each in its turn,
the black folder your only shield.
Then comes the unconscious gesture
of your left hand, like a wavelet
in the river of your life, something
to bob over in the current of days,
That weightless instant when you rise
into the light of hopefulness, and breathe.
You animate the words that follow
each other like children lined up for lunch,
And when you touch each one, in turn,
it shines like a silver fish in the sun.
I am crossing the unholy
waste of northern Indiana
in a torrent, a terror
of two conjoined twins
playing one sorrowful ukulele.