What Each Transition Leaves Behind

He entered the water,

and drowned.

She entered the earth,

and decayed.

He entered the fire,

and was consumed.

She simply vanished

into the air.

Between her words

and the sediments

of his desires,

they were transformed,

becoming more the other

and less themselves.

Like beasts who love

in shadow’s spheres,

they entered metaphor,

and returned home.

(March 5, 2020)

Mistranslations

My past imperfections intercede

to lay claim to what I can see.

The air between thickens in time

like delirious veils in the wind.

Each word she spoke I heard

as if her fingers on my arm

traced a secret in braille

I was too blind to read.

*

Now too tired to transform time,

I watch myself as if dead;

the chill pushes through my flesh,

like a rat gnawing in the wall.

Time’s translations fill my silence

with the words neither of us spoke.

(December, 20, 2019)

Dispersion

When we scattered mother,

the ash swirled about me

like a cape. I breathed her

in, then spit out what 

I could into the winter grass.

Metaphor’s bitter aftertaste

lingered between my teeth

for years. Now, left with

a handful of ash to toss

to the wind, I resist this

final gesture, and begin

again. Life’s easy without

thought, or a nearby pattern

to hold one together, despite

death’s constant push to contain 

the living who remain.

(December 12, 2019)

Lightning Ignites the Core of a Tree

All around him, the forest burns,

uncontrolled, beautiful.

The warmth reassures him

with its certainty.

His fingers burn; the flesh

chars as on a spit.

He turns, searching;

but she is gone, if ever

she were truly there.

He stands alone,

arms outstretched.

Flames leap through the trees;

smoke swallows the sky.

(December 10, 2019)

Patchwork

I find a narrative,

as I age, hard

to patch together.

I cannot mend

all that I have

rendered, all

I have misplaced

in anger, and neglect.

I have no prologue

to explain succinctly

each switchback

I have turned along.

It’s easier to see

a moment without a past;

easier to mind the flower

as a petal first falls.

What scars I have

are well hid; no

stars to weave

a pattern in the sky.

(July 31, 2019)

Marginalia

The ghosts in his forest sift

between the bramble, collect

momentarily in clearings,

and compare notes on their

unconsummated affairs.

His apparition slips along

her edges, begging the margins

she ignores. Annotations,

without context, entangle

his thoughts, growing a life

of their own, a meaning

of their own, as blooms

of moss on the forest floor

disguise the broken trees

in a green effulgence.

He tries to trace her designs

within her fractured words.

Each turn he takes leads away

form yet another possible exegesis;

until, he falls into a clarity

forever uncertain and voiceless.p

(May 5, 2019)