Shape the lips to an o, say a.
One word of Swedish has changed the whole neighborhood.
When I look up, the yellow house on the corner
is a galleon stranded in flowers. Around it
the wind. Even the high roar of a leaf-mulcher
could be the horn-blast from a ship
as it skirts to the misted shoals.
We don’t need much more to keep things going.
Families complete themselves
and refuse to budge from the present,
the present extends its glass forehead to sea
(backyard breezes, scattered cardinals)
and if, one evening, the house on the corner
took off over the marshland,
neither I nor my neighbor
would be amazed. Sometimes
a word is found so right it trembles
at the slightest explanation.
You start out with one thing, end
up with another, and nothing’s
like it used to be, not even the future.
Each from Different Heights
That time I thought I was in love
and calmly said so
was not much different from the time
I was truly in love
and slept poorly and spoke out loud
to the wall
and discovered the hidden genius
of my hands.
And the times I felt less in love,
less than someone,
were, to be honest, not so different
Each was ridiculous in its own way
and each was tender, yes,
sometimes even the false is tender.
I am astounded
by the various kisses we’re capable of.
Each from different heights
diminished, which is simply the law.
And the big bruise
from the longer fall looked perfectly white
in a few years.
That astounded me most of all.
To hold together and to split apart
at one and the same time,
like the shock of being born,
breathing in this world
while lamenting for the one we’ve left.
No one needs to tell us
we are already on our onward way,
no one has to remind us
of our everyday and intimate
We were born saying goodbye
to what we love,
we were born
in a beautiful reluctance,
not quite ready
to breathe in this new world,
we are here and we are not,
we are present while still not
wanting to admit we have arrived.
Not quite arrived in our minds
yet always arriving in the body,
always growing older
while trying to grow younger,
always in the act
of catching up,
of saying hello
or saying goodbye
in each new and imagined future
the still-lived memory
of a previous,
There is no such thing
as star block.
We do not think of
locking out the light
of other galaxies.
It is light
so rinsed of impurities
(heat, for instance)
that it excites
no antibodies in us.
Yet people are
Bathed in its
absence of insistence
burns us with love.