The Body

I Am But a Traveler in This Land & Know Little of Its Ways

Is everything a field of energy caused
by human projection? From the crib bars
hang the teething tools. Above the finger-drummed
desk, a bit lip. The cyclone fence of buts

surrounds the soccer field of what if.
Sometimes it seems like a world where no one
knows what he or she is doing, eight lanes
both directions. How about a polymer

Sakura Park

The park admits the wind,
the petals lift and scatter

like versions of myself I was on the verge
of becoming; and ten years on

and ten blocks down I still can’ t tell
whether this dispersal resembles

a fist unclenching or waving goodbye.
But the petals scatter faster,

seeking the rose, the cigarette vendor,
and at least I’ ve got by pumping heart

some rules of conduct: refuse to choose
between turning pages and turning heads

Turkey Fallen Dead from Tree

Startled from snow-day slumber by a neighbor’ s mutt,
it banged its buzzard’ s head then couldn’ t solve
the problem of the white pine’ s limbs
with wings nearly too broad for a planned descent.
Somewhere an awkward angel knows
whether it was dead before it hit the ground.
Any sinner could tell it was dead after —
eyes unseen beneath bare and wrinkled lids,
feet drawn up almost as high as hands.
I loved to watch thistle and millet
disappear beneath it in the yard.
As snow covers feathers that will still be

American Incognito

But to whatever animal we ascribe these remains, it is certain such a one has existed in America, and that it has been the largest of all terrestrial beings. It should have sufficed to have rescued the earth it inhabited, and the atmosphere it breathed, from the imputation of impotence....
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

I called for armour, rose, and did not reel.
But when I thought...
I could feel
My wound open wide.
— Thom Gunn, “The Wound”



As if sliding down the green, scuffed face
of the wave, a seaplane falls
and turns together, keeping the waters of

the ear flat: a dead calm. But when the window’ s
frowning strip of shoreline,
the battalions of tropical-drinks umbrellas

guarding the sandcastles and saltboxes
of the rich,
when these flip upside down, and the pale