A Lock of Her Hair
As a hoodoo-voodoo, get-you-back-to-me tool,
this hank’s thankless task is vast,
a head down to the ground impossibility, possibly,
since what I’m thinking of is your toe pad pinknesses too,
your soup hots and round-and-rounds, the fine
and perfect poundage of you on my paws, the very cause
and problem I moan and bemoan
the absence of. For Love, above the head
this reddish coil once lavishly wore, there’s an air so far away
it’s sad for me to even think the same sun’s rays play
where it was and do to you what I would do
if I were there or you were here. Still, some thrills
remembered do resemble thrills, one hopes, and the ropes
of it that gently fell around me bound me so well
no hell of miles can defile this dream I dream. I mean
the anyway DNA I can find of you. I mean the home
of bones and blood that holds the whole of you
and which this fizzed-up missive means to conjure, missy,
my world in a curl, girl, this man oh man half man I am
when you’re gone.
Of his collection, an old man said, “So much time
standing still unless upended.”
Who has never wanted to turn around its passage?
The hour of love, the shudder at the edge
of the first kiss, the misstep and fall, the slip
that told too much of the momentary truth.
When Jace was four, he lay on his back
rotating minute by minute the three-minute
timer from a child’s game, and asked
“Do you know what this is, Daddy?” Then he told me
without looking away: “Time sugar.”
The end of such a sweetness is also an ache.
Regarding the metaphor for her figure,
I swear it was the vehicle that stopped time
and again too short; you could spend a year
loving the full swells out of and into which the spill
seemed minutely to cipher her voluptuousness,
though it was the middle made it all of a piece.
Old gnomon of the sundial, a shepherd’s tally stick, the water
clock’s drip-drop prefiguring the pendulum’s tock,
a day cloven into twelves sixty by sixty ticks around.
Or the stuff of glass subsiding in a glass
of such a shape, all I want to do, as time keeps passing,
is to watch it go by.
Lichen… always with love for Terra
Not moss, but slower, a kind of lumpenproletariat
fungus comes in bunches no one keeps an eye on.
Grandmother ones, grandfathers, though where they’re at
they’re babies, half-birthed among a thousand tiny generations
And lacy they are, tightly massive as minimal forests,
but always more amazing the closer you look.
And holding the dew in billions of pinprick droplets,
they drink their fill and wait, the very name meaning to lick.
When I consider the worn, petal-scented bar of soap
my lover inadvertently left in the deep woods,
alongside the river we camped by for a week,
I think first of watching her bathe there,
how I waited with her towel in the sun, her clean clothes
warming on the radiant stones.
Then I think of a man not unlike myself finding it,
a pink and botanical soap, in a perfectly scooped dish
on the back of a large, water-polished rock.
He senses her in the curve and slope
of its undoing at her skin, and holding it
to his lips he takes in some faint but vivid
scent of her, stepping clean into her towel and my arms,
which now are his, and who then, unable to help himself,
offers the soap’s pale astringent underside a kiss.
And what would I do with another picture
of her nude? The one I have I shown to no one,
not even her anymore,
for fear she might
want them back, or worse. But the one
I regret not taking most was that hot
summer night I rose for
a drink of water,
not even noticing at first I was alone,
until, in the hallway of the too-small house
we lived in then, I saw
her fully extended
on our son’s bed. He had a summer cold
and a little lifelong jones for the breast.
He was two, almost.
He’s been fussy from the
so she went to him there, and then there
she was too, sleeping – and all her long back,
head to heel.
In my half-wakefulness I
such a photograph’s mechanics: tripod, cable release,
the long moon- and night-lighted, sepia-
When I told her years
later how close I’d come,
she said I should have, it would have been fine,
and there lies the source of my regret: her late permission.
Though I think of it now
only as I slip the others
from the safe place they’re hidden in,
six in all: three along a mountain river;
one in a galvanized tub
at the hot springs;
another, fishing from the shore of a mountain lake, in sunglasses –
and then the absent one, framed by the doorway:
on the nearest edge of a
a stuffed bear looking on from the cast-off sheets,
the rasping boy out of sight on the other side of her,
and a particular sheen
on her skin, as if
she’d been basted or entirely, relentlessly kissed,
even the bottoms of her slender, delectable feet