Poems and Lovelorn Thoughts, Vol. XXI


If you connected the dots of the falling

Snow, you would find silence like

A gray Pearl. Even the wind

Would go still, in that moment.

And you would see her standing there,

A flickering blue flame in a wasteland of white.

She would be the color of will-o-the-whisps and ice

Lace and forget-me-nots; when the snow

Fell she would gather it in her hands and

Sew it into cradle caps for half-sleeping birds.

Do you see her? She wears a ghost-skin,

And wraps it around herself as tight

As she can. The only color

In this blank of white, she stands there,

Resolute and thin and cold,

A burning figure under this

Open milkwash sky.


Ode to my Yellow Peacoat

I wear my ochre yellow peacoat

Like a pair of painted wings,

I spread my arms and I do not

Even have to flap my wings --

The air takes me up in its arms

And watches me fly. The black swirl

Buttons are almost formidable because

They never blink, and when they do,

It’s only when you were blinking, too.

They shine like eyes in love, like secret sides of

White-hot stars we never get to see.

The fabric pills and gathers at the elbows like

The folds of a golden rose, brighter

Than the faces of the sunspots on the wall.

There are worn wrinkles, but they smile at me,

So I smile back at them. Together, we outbeam

The very sun above our heads.


And thus we take on the world,

My yellow peacoat and I.



The greenblack lake curled in on itself,

A wide ribbon glinting in the afternoon light,

Until a wave rose up churning like a

Thousand paper scrolls and threw itself

With all its might at the shore. Strangely,

When it hurtled at us, we did not move --

All it did was curve noiselessly under the glass

Windows and the wooden porch where we sat.

I thought for a minute that something must

Be wrong, because underneath the planks

Of the floor under our rocking chairs

Were upside-down umbrellas floating in the

Foamy seascum, swirling and swelling

Like children of that great strange breathing

Thing we call the Water. And still we just

Sat there eating crumpets and buttered bread,

Wiping the corners of our mouths and not

Talking to each other. We went on watching

To see if another big wave would come,

And at that point I knew something

Strange must be going on because all at

Once, we put our cups up in the air and

Poured the tea all over our heads --

To be warmer, perhaps, or because

If we did not believe in scalding,

It would not happen.