Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

In a life divided like the strike,
split of maul through log
into mine, yours,
we’re jealous with anything ours –

with the Christmas tree and its ornaments
made and bought for our first together,
filled out by old trinketry still “mine,”
swept in the jingle-bell skirt from my first one alone –

and a blue volume signed to the both of us,
not two hundred pages but six months to read,
ferried nine hundred miles for weekend installments,
chapters sequestered from day work,

from far away, from the tears
by the doorway for passengers only,
pages hoarded like firefly moments
caught in a jar on the mantle, lid

punched through and banded, little lights
dancing but fading by morning.
Our book was signed in the summer,
but the New Year has turned

once we reach the last chapters
on a morning that ends nearly three weeks together
as not far away its author relishes
two extra nights in a near-empty house

that brace one end of a stretch of apart-from-her.
My eyes brine at the bottom of page 160,
voice cracks like creak of a stuck basement door,
and you ask me whether I want you to finish.

You carry us all the way through,
even the thank-yous we don’t have to read,
as I wish for the comfort of mothers,
wait for the ocean to cast us both home.

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Tedious excision, like severing
mold lines from a crusader:
You razor our home from its played-out old world,
lift it up like a cloud-hoisted castle,
oaken ark driven by many
waters up from a still plain.

It drifts like a lily shorn off from its root
and then settles downstream: little farm,
far-flung tracks still intact,
framed now by scarp and topple,
precipice edges abutting the ocean,
sunflower plains, mushrooms suited
for shortcuts and shrinking,
stippled allium and oxeye ringing the trees.

Our matching maps, new-made and blank,
unveil step by step what’s ahead of our marks,
a half-glimpse before us. An inkling. A hint.

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The first time you held my hand
we were strangers in a land we only disparaged
at the end, in hindsight,
where houseplants grew as though
we had been shrunk beside them.

We weren’t together,
though as we climbed the guides
kept asking of your lady
friend, beckoning us as a pair
to alcoves curtained by lace-foam spill, to pools
where we two might trust ourselves and water
as we fell.

And like a chorus of clowns or beasts
we said together, “We’re not
together, not together,” until, toward the top,
the guides, their ropes of cameras kept up from the spray,
remembered, turned to each of us
in turn at the cave-end, the precipice,
the final wet at the crest of the climb.

I’ve lost the sense of how many times they asked,
how many flights since then have carried us together,
to meet at one end of the span that separates
one of us from the other of us,
in our off days not together, not together.

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Specimens missing, notes of apology,
the vandalized seismograph, derelict,
in one corner rests, its leads still attached
to an obelisk of granite, to a monitor
(off now) that ought to be showing
the tremors below, too faint for our
soles to pick up from the sidewalk, the street,
the path through the garden,
packed under wanderers and last autumn’s leaves.

But you and I scavenge through Herkimer diamonds,
gastroliths, chrysotile, dendritic gypsum,
and back by the entrance we pick out from
the tumble and sheet three polished stones,
two mica rings. On the drive home we will stand
by the side of the parkway, stare from the split-rail
at Looking Glass Rock, and without any signal stretch
back to the sign, grasping for the word “pluton”
in what we remember
from the little museum under Pack Square.

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Eclipse, Remotely

The moon dimmed opposite
the world from us,
dimmed in a shuttering
we both missed, its slide
a slow eyelid drowsing down
with the waning afternoon, with our
waning wakefulness, waning
attention drawn among too many screens,
our minds like sacking
split along seams and beans
scattering from tear to countertop.
Had I brush or broom,
patch and thread, another mind
and pair of eyes to home
onto the vanishing craters,
the mares muddying the shadow’s cusp,
I might divide my focus,
hold you and the moon
along with the burr and the grind.

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My heart is patched,
not like a scholar’s
sleeves or a vagabond’s bindle,
but like a sandbox adventure
pressed too soon to gold. Travel
enough and its rhythms
lurch and quaver, its codes devolve
into jambless doors and needed
crates too high to reach.

I shouldn’t have brought
my heart into it –
from the cabin I see only
neurons in the dark,
sheathed in aureate scales

cast from headlight and streetlight,
from facades still bright with icicle strings,
lining concrete that eyes the world shyly
from beneath the most steadfast of snow.

I imagine every axon
as Massachusetts Avenue,
every dendrite a spur into sleep,
every rest there a reset and rewrite,
a background grasp at repair,
bit by bit nudging
undulate data toward lines.

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A random place but one we made
once we wandered to it,
one peopled at first by only we two,

unearthed from the hillside and shored
in grey stone. The walk and the roof
forever snowed under, the regular ambient howl

of some cave still unfound and unlit
dress the scene more as outpost than home.
But the whole of it’s mortared

in loving you, and the walls we might line
now with lapis we set in when iron was dear,
our room with its gold clock and hearth

bloomed out from an anchorite’s alcove,
its fire impossibly constant.
Now out from a visitor’s parapet I watch

for sunrise, every ounce with me a treasure –
worn tools left behind to fit diamond and pearl –
waiting for daylight to start the walk home.

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