“heart’s a useless sliver”


Winged Purposes
Dean Young
Fly from me does all I would have stay,
the blossoms did not stay, stayed not the frost
in the yellow grass. Every leash snapped,
every contract void, and flying in the crows
lingers but a moment in the graveyard oaks
yet inside me it never stops so I can’t tell
who is chasing, who chased, I can sleep
into afternoon and still wake soaring.
So out come the bats, down spiral swifts
into the chimneys, Hey, I’m real, say the dream-
figments then are gone like breath-prints
on a window, handwriting in snow. Whatever
I hold however flies apart, the children skip
into the park come out middle-aged
with children of their own. Your laugh
over the phone, will it ever answer me again?
Too much flying, photons perforating us,
voices hurtling into outer space, Whitman
out past Neptune, Dickinson retreating
yet getting brighter. Remember running
barefoot across hot sand into the sea’s
hovering, remember my hand as we darted
against the holiday Broadway throng,
catching your train just as it was leaving?
Hey, it’s real, your face like a comet,
horses coming from the field for morning
oats, insects hitting a screen, the message
nearly impossible to read, obscured by light
because carried by Mercury: I love you,
I’m coming. Sure, what fluttered is now gone,
maybe a smudge left, maybe a delicate under-
feather only then that too, yes, rained away.
And when the flying is flown and the heart’s
a useless sliver in a glacier and the gown
hangs still as meat in a locker and eyesight
is dashed-down glass and the mouth rust-
stoppered, will some twinge still pass between us,
still some fledgling pledge?

Photo by Ryan Plomp on Unsplash