Heart

heart

the last heart
in a faint box
incised with vines
how that heart
younger than the heart it was
labored to rescue
the old man
how the guardians of it—tender
but disregarding the rest
could not disperse
the demons
at the foot of the bed

         that heart was the thing
we counted on
when all we could do was count
we were made small
by things we couldn’t track
mere signals from the gate
and outposts you’d already
left behind
the quiz of it
the previous empire of
ice chips then
looking like the high life
from this side of the
breathing machine

that boat in the distance
you rowed on
marveling at a sky
we could not see
and turned to us to say
and we weren’t there
but we were

the swing of the statistic
and its fold
your oxygen wave
or just our waving
hoping you’d wave back
none of it
is all right with me now

the long hour already done
no longer an hour
no more time, just place
someplace where
there’s no obverse
converse
traverse
just strangers passing by

         it was what we heard
at the end of the world

so call on it, call it out
bring your house with you
but come soon

all our prayers
cannot pace the plea of it
the way your voice could
if we could only hear it

Gulf Spill

We were reading what we were reading
the gulf a muck a mucked up gulf
underwater every day the daily ooze
the outrage lapping washing flooding
it was all the news was was the everything
even you with your broken heart find a
mirror let me see my chest
you said I said
the scar’s not so bad, your heart and then
I couldn’t say don’t get old you said but
if you do don’t get sick
you said but if you
do hope you die
it was not funny funny
that was the way the television was all
the gulf and you were being manhandled
in your delirium you asked the nurse
to bring some tables in and chairs and
bacon and all kind of things to eat and
drink everybody’s coming you said yes
I said everybody is and everybody was
but just not then then you wondered who
those people were at the foot of the
bed that still wouldn’t go away when we
said they weren’t so the room was full
and the gulf was on tv the gulf breaking
put recovery out opened a possibility and
that was what we hoped recovering to go on
and it was raining like the devil a deluge
and everything clean then that metallic
smell that makes you think brisk that
makes you think clean open free even
with that lowering sky barred with bruise
standing at the window while you slept
there in the not too far black smoke like
a creature crawling up from earth to sky
somebody’s house on fire somebody’s life
burning up in the rain and then I thought
please let everybody live please don’t go.

willow

willow willow willow
our darling singing at the well,
and up and down our road
sweet as longing that song but
the singing of it’s dying, it’s
the dying that’s all wrong, yes
the world’s a huge thing
but not much for worn pockets
or a bodice with a heart in it
or a closet full of stones
what is it that they do
when they change us for others?
oh my dear, you must know
they think to change themselves
willow willow willow
where they want, they will
where they will, they go

 

 

 

italicized lines from Othello