The Destination We Were All Inevitably Bent On

Grackles appear, dismembered clouds of them undulating over the horse field, hills in the distance blazing early orange. Moving clock hands with my fingers, not worried exactly but not not worried either. One drifts, one does, doesn’t one? We walk together to the river, lean on the bridge, letting what inside of us can settle, settle. So much happens after, doesn’t it? Late at night going back to the familiar structures – five lines, twenty sentences, journal entries that in the morning you throw into the stove. Picking tomatoes and the last of the onions, pausing at the parsley to see if the swallowtail caterpillars are there. Girls with glasses. Remember when “all the way” excluded the destination we were all inevitably bent on? One confesses their longing for salty alternatives, one gets surprisingly definite. I mean look how tired I am, look how happy.

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Both Ways Finishing

The tribe of those who cannot sleep, the hand-carved drums they beat through the night. Blue glass curved just so. Yet ask: for what is anyone waiting anymore? She sighs after, deeply, and a few minutes after that, rolls away a little and sleeps, a faint smile floating just above the blankets. Jewelweed after night rain is especially beautiful, especially against the northeast corner of the barn. Checking traps, both sad and anticipatory. Drinking coffee at 3 a.m. on the front porch, listening to rain on the maple trees and Main Street, shivering but happy. Matthew comes by to talk about the Vermont Castings Defiant circa 1975 which we aim to sell, unexpectedly expert. In a dream you look up and smile – your lips glisten, your chin glistens – and move your hand, wanting to meet my eyes – the light there, the gift there – both ways – finishing. A long walk before the sun rises to try and get clear on who it was those poems were for, the ones I wrote in 1992 and 93 leaving Vermont, which still intimate uncharted territory, mountain summits on which moonlight trembles. Sunlight clarifies and detoxifies and makes things grow. No I will not retire. At our fingertips, stars.

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Loveliness Is Now A Warning

Apples in the tall grass beneath wizened apple trees, cardinals on the stone wall between our yard and the neighbors. You with your excellent poems and sentences. Things that are red we can touch, things that are red we cannot. Or is it simply that when we name things a world appears and we cannot go beyond it, save in speculative ways that rely on our handiness with language? Grackles gather into flocks and what was once a loveliness is now a warning. There are better questions to ask perhaps, but who has the time? Afternoon passes in a steady sweat, working first in the dirt beneath the back porch, later mowing out back as far as the orchard, and finally restacking firewood that slipped in a recent rain. All we can notice is evidence of cognitive conflict. There are spiders everywhere, even in this wacky dream of local ruin, rivers in full spate roaring in the distance. Take me with you! And: I will not forget you when you’re gone! In one place I uncovered an ax head, in another noticed that groundhogs only eat a part of the apple. It’s not necessary to visit or send a letter, love. Eden has no plural.

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