The Geese

slicing this frozen sky know
where they are going —
and want to get there.

Their call, both strange
and familiar, calls
to the strange and familiar

heart, and the landscape
becomes the landscape
of being, which becomes

the bright silos and snowy
fields over which the nuanced
and muscular geese

are calling — while time
and the heart take measure.

Virgin Mule

The conversations of the French
Quarter mules in their stables
after a full day of pulling
tourists and voters over cobble-
stones is not espresso witty
and in their dark no TVs feed
them news of the ends of mules
elsewhere in the Middle East
and West. In our stables the ends
of others are a fact of atmosphere.
The yoyos on the mystery island
nextdoor are revving familiar tools
in backyard now gripped by failure
first of electricity than of
a meaner something that’ ll grow

"Love of My Flesh, Living Death"

Once I wasn’ t always so plain.
I was strewn feathers on a cross
of dune, an expanse of ocean
at my feet, garlands of gulls.

Sirens and gulls. They couldn’ t tame you.
You know as well as they: to be
a dove is to bear the falcon
at your breast, your nights, your seas.

My fear is simple, heart-faced
above a flare of etchings, a lineage
in letters, my sudden stare. It’ s you.

Still Life

I’ m having trouble looking animals in the eye.

Their empty suits in outer space!

Monkeys injected with a virus to show off

Our eminent domain, the nervous system.

Teacup pigs we breed and obsessive mice

Worrying themselves bald in a miniature opera.

For pleasures of the tongue we are

Winking cattle out of meadows

Slashing their throats and swiftly quartering them.

In riding habits with gold flame pins we ride horses

To hounds, chase a fennec fox until his red

Coat flares up against the extinction

Admit Possession to Rent

We stopped at a farmer’ s house
before parking at the dock
that creaked over the river.
Rowboats for rent, five bucks
an hour, twenty for the day.
Deep water: I knew a canvas bag

was in the trunk. I knew lunch
would be roast beef sandwiches
and hot stew from a thermos,
chunks of carrot and potatoes
cut by my mother who slept
through the racket of our leaving.