A Woman Painted on a Leaf
I found it among curios and silver
in the pureness of wintry light.
A woman painted on a leaf.
Fine lines drawn on a veined surface
in a hand-made frame.
This is not my face. Neither did I draw it.
A leaf falls in the garden.
The moon cools its aftermath of sap.
The pith of summer dries out in starlight.
A woman is inscribed there.
This is not death. It is the terrible
suspension of life.
I want a poem
I can grow old in. I want a poem I can die in.
I want to take
this dried-out face,
as you take a starling from behind iron,
and return it to its elements of air, of ending-
so that Autumn
which was once
the hard look of stars,
the frown on a gardener’s face,
a gradual bronzing of the distance,
from now on,
a crisp tinder underfoot. Cheekbones. Eyes. Will be
a mouth crying out. Let me.
Let me die.