From here you run,
a fistful of dirt to a dying tree,
tasting of washed socks
left too long on the line.
The sun below opening its hidden door.
The sand raining down from empty skies.
In that the swans avoid you, I hear
your innate stillness, the silence
of a thousand bodies, your eyes
blackened by history. None were your
conquests. None your blood.
But you smell of both,
allowing me to swim
your ample inheritance.
Each stroke, my arms strike stone,
cold thousand-eyed alabaster.
My once-powerful legs churn
your sorrow. I live the moment
between your poetries
and am liberated by the dawns
that have passed you over.
Perhaps the next sun will dry you
to grain or wheat, so exultantly
you can extinguish
this vast world light.
You carry the city I call upon
to replant my roots. I am grateful
for the way you hush violins
and squeeze between the shadows,
unnoticed. The green song of air
tooted from the hundred green hills.
The blue song of penitence
beaten into the streets. The red and gold
banners of daybreak. The sly vermilion grin
In your deftness and blindness I huddle,
saturated, a mangy alley cat
or any small animal
wounded by ego, shuddering
at my hands of water.
Touching but my flesh, you cannot crack me.
My master’s hands are stars
I name for the dead
and clouds painting the faces
I have been blessed to erase.
But you wash me like a bird’s wings until almost
I am alone. Like you.
Bypassing yesterdays, celebrating silence,
testifying to nothing.
O haggard, hallowed river, mighty for a time.
The many names history crowns you
are broken bells. They will not ring
tomorrow. Their voice is already crackling.
-previously published by Hot Metal Press