Oliver de la Paz


Aubade with Bread for the Sparrows

The snow voids the distance of the road
and the first breath comes from the early morning
ghosts. The sparrows with their hard eyes
glisten in the difficult light. They preen
their feathers and chirp. It’ s as though they were one
voice talking to God.
Mornings are a sustained hymn
without the precision of faith. You’ ve turned the bag
filled with molding bread inside out and watch
the old crusts fall to the ice. What’ s left

By Subtraction

The wind shakes the chimes
into the siding, and the dog shakes too
though he doesn’ t wake you
as I carry you to the bedroom. Small mouth
sipping breath, you are fish-strange,
bejeweled in the dimness of the microwave’ s
nightlight. As I turn my back to the bulb
I make your form in my arms a dark weight
but you are no anchor. Together
we are sloops trailing a tiny wake in the carpet.
In the dark it’ s hard to navigate the furniture
so I count distance — five paces
from the tile to the sofa. From the sofa,