The last day of the year you would dare call summer. Eyes addicted to flames in a metal basin, a cardboard burn for warmth against the coming winter. Moths of ash flickering up to the canopy of goldening birch. A new friend’s front yard: collapsible lawn furniture, a rainbow hammock, a perimeter of cherry trees. Grass a little wet. Three large, lovely dogs begging for pizza slices and games of fetch, eyes that can only see good in yours. Sky the remnant of sunset gathered from the fast drive across town. The day’s hours forgotten in the evening’s peace, voices to prove our orbit around the fire.
At rest before the glacier’s pour And dwarfed by breadth of Admiralty On Summer’s edge of evening light He slits a pack of bait, Stuffs the rectangular prism Inside the cylindrical cage: A crab pot to sink in the orange boat’s wake, This island on the placid sea. The ferries are running, he tells me and points— I smile and agree, Fearing the edge of the map and the knife, The cut of horizons I’d never see without him: A current of birds drifting on water, Low clouds protecting a mountain, A captain commanding me in Carhartts. I pretend I’d drown before I’d fight, Laugh underwater, mistake my phone for a life. But later, driving back from the dock, I think of the crab, the bait, the cage— And wish for a boat to sail through night.
When evening parts with day At midnight
I turn on the light the house begins to shake
And show old surfaces: a soft cat
Unraveling carpet seams in slumber.
A broken window— A bear at the window—
Who knows whether asking for a treat
In darkness a smear of licorice
I find my dreams inside a wrapper.
Raven struts on rooftop’s edge Pauses by the mast Wonders of the treasures Behind each building’s glass. Something shiny? A yogurt? A morsel of bread? Never mind, says the raven, flaps his wings by the flag— The sun shines. The forest provides. Wait— What’s inside that plastic bag?
Call across the canyon Carved in heart’s striations Scarred by empty days That history has drowned. The echo makes an absent bridge That falls and falls and falls To the gone old world That never makes a sound.