IO REMEMBERS

There is no sound at all on this wild upland.
The horses have stopped falling
in their great arc through the air.
The panic that carried their necks over the crag
became, early on, in their legs, regret.
The dark knowing that spoils the morning
enters them now, showing them how,
like a difference in contour, they weren’t the real
power of the field. How their bearing was minor,
their bones meaning more to the earth
than what each aloof mane in the wind had been.
Their eyes, which before were clear, crowd
like the fleas madness brings, as she notes
in the noonday heat how each part lies,
spread across rock, like her own in that scene,
half-girl, half-cow, the cloud half off.

 
GHOST CONTINENT

It’s a lot like emptiness, the season
of dying fish, black drink,
the person you loved best, and left,
giving off light in the recession.
It would have startled the fire user,
who towered over nature,
this material you’re passing through
to save a little of, like radio.
Paddle faster. Skin across the giant
things in hiding, blow on the sick.
The deep returns a makeshift
surface, wake, blue-tarred road.
Miles from here (but you’re gone)
the wrong land will be discovered.

 
CROCODILIA

The air yellows
with the energy of grief.
He touches her eyes, almost humming.
What are those depths
to which we all disappear?
Seas advance and recede.
Ebb and flow. Mountains are lifted
and leveled. Ebb and flow.
A mosaic of tiny bones
shifts a bit in the heat.
There are two kinds of time, side by side;
tears bind them.
His finger rests on her lips, then goes in.
Extinction sucks the tip,
softly biting.

 
—all three from Dark Sky Question (Beacon Press, 1998)
 
 

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