A Cargo of Green Hearts
I am sad. There is no help for it.
one by one the stars fled
from me like frightened animals
disappearing into holes; one by
one the rivers ran to the sea
and did not come back. I live
in this dry world, and am reminded
of Mars, which we thought had
life, canals like Venice, until
we were proven wrong and alone
in our sad orbit. The moon
is covering her kind face as
I write. The crickets have packed
up their small orchestras
and will not return. Winter
is waiting with its sharp icicles.
The sun, miserly, will not
fill my sky to the brim of noon.
All I have now is you
tender night, how you fill me,
love these words out
of me, so that I will not drown
on them until I die.
some days the earth barely moves
the sun leans its shoulder
into the wall of the sky
and loiters there, the clouds
stretch out their long fleece tails
as if they had nowhere to go
could stay in the same spots
forever rearranging themselves
like Rorschach blots. it is as if
the waters of this earth crept
toward us slowly, surrounded
us to the necks and held us
like kind wrestlers. all the birds
stopped and listened, except
the white-throated sparrow
whose molasses song was too
slow to hush. the raspberries
are all gone but the watermelons
keep waiting. if you kiss me in
I will never stop kissing you.
strange, fear's command, how for weeks
we spoke of nothing else, your ghost draped
furniture, your car accidents that could happen
pianos waiting to combust
men shuffling like Grendel in your basement
at the bottom of the earth. we sketched it on
the walls, described it in calligraphy, burned
it into the woodwork with match heads and needles
and our own fingernails. erased all the doors
turned out the lights to set the mood. so we
would know what it looked like if it came.
no one could say I did not do this for you
out of good intention. no one could say you did
not keep me informed. we leaped as high as we could to avoid
breaking bones. we drove as quick as we could
to avoid hitting cars. we ran as fast as your shadow
until it merged with mine at the five yard line.
meanwhile, the world went on
the birds singing, the trees fattening imperceptibly
and somewhere the ghosts of two lovers
walking out into a garden, telling ordinary stories
the shapes of clouds, the way leaves turn
in the wind, the lick of lake water against
skin, lovemaking and its many salty variables.
"they could have been our ghosts," I whisper
as I complete this design, give in to
the pull of the last brush-stroke
erase the last living window of light.
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