As I saw your face nearing
my face, snow fell through
a keyhole and opened the door.
We went inside and watched
windows wax green and gold.
Spring, we decided, was more
oppressive than winter with
its alyssum and clover
and the sheer weight of life
crowding us off the page.
We stayed in bed for years
and took our cures patiently
from each other’ s cups.
We read Bleak House and
stored our money in socks.
Nothing opened as we did.
As I saw your face nearing
What a thing it would be, if we all could fly.
But to rise on air does not make you a bird.
I’ m sick of the hiss of champagne bubbles.
It’ s spring, and everyone’ s got something to puke.
The things we puke: flights of stairs,
a skyscraper soaring from the gut,
the bills blow by on the April breeze
followed by flurries of razor blades in May.
It’ s true, a free life is made of words.
You can crumple it, toss it in the trash,
or fold it between the bodies of angels, attaining
a permanent address in the sky.
What god will catch me
when I’ m down, when I’ ve taken
sufficient drink to reveal
myself, when my words are little
more than a blurring
of consonant and vowel?
I’ m drunk on spring:
branches of waxy leaves that
greet me at my driveway,
a family clutching
trays of sweets.
How can I sing of this?
If I cannot sing, then
make me mute. Or lend me
words, send me
the taste of another’ s prayer,
cool as a coin
newly minted on the tongue.
If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
When we finally flip it over
the fireflies are out. The neighbor boy
has had his stitches in so I can finally admit
I think it is all fantastic: the suck
of the spark plug undone, the stuck blade
bent into the guard, and the sound
of the hammer’ s head reshaping the metal.
In this our suburban Eden we’ ve only
The shadows have their seasons, too.
The feathery web the budding maples
cast down upon the sullen lawn
bears but a faint relation to
high summer's umbrageous weight
and tunnellike continuum
black leached from green, deep pools
wherein a globe of gnats revolves
as airy as an astrolabe.
The thinning shade of autumn is
an inherited Oriental,
red worn to pink, nap worn to thread.
Shadows on snow look blue. The skier,
exultant at the summit, sees his poles
elongate toward the valley: thus
Snapping turtles in the pond eat bass, sunfish,
and frogs. They do us no harm when we swim.
But early this spring two Canada geese
lingered, then built a nest. What I’ d
heard of, our neighbor feared: goslings,
as they paddle about, grabbed from below
by a snapper, pulled down to drown.
So he stuck
hunks of fat on huge, wire-leadered hooks
attached to plastic milk-bottle buoys.
The first week he caught three turtles
Side by side through the streets at midnight,
Through the tumultuous night of London,
In the miraculous April weather.
Roaming together under the gaslight,
Day’ s work over,
How the Spring calls to us, here in the city,
Calls to the heart from the heart of a lover!
Cool to the wind blows, fresh in our faces,
After the heat and the fumes and the footlights,
Where you dance and I watch your dancing.
All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air —
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.
Spring, and the first full crop of dandelions gone
to smoke, the lawn lumpish with goldfinches,
hunched in their fluffs, fattened by seed,
alight in the wind-bared peduncular forest.
Little bells, they loop and dive, bend
the delicate birch branches down.
I would enter the sky through the soil
myself, sing up the snail bowers
and go on the lam with the roots.
Licked by filaments, I would lie,
a billion love-mouths to suckle and feed.