If You Were Here (Watching Crows in the Rain)

I would still have to stop suddenly
in the middle of the block, in mid-thought,
in the middle of a rain shower, to begin
a fully extemporized essay on the way
rain drops and gravity collude at feathers’
edges to demonstrate fluid dynamics.

If you were here you would convince me
to consider how the calculus of wing beats
sifting the scent of just-opened lilac florets
through a sieve of bright spring rain
might exculpate even a childhood foe
thought forgotten all these years till now.

If you were here I’d be listening to your
laughter, not listening for it in the rain.

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Bluejay Magnolia Cinquain for Mid-May

A jay
perched this morning
among the magnolia
blossoms, touching all the petals
with blue

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Perennially Close to the Ground

In the harbour, green water overgrows the last
ice floes; derelict, adrift in changeable winds.

Perennially close to the ground, the crocus
still stirs to the touch of the spring wind.

Even downtown, among church bells and sirens,
the raven’s call carries far on May mornings.

The lengthening evenings grow warmer while
in the night sky stars grow colder, farther apart.

The magnolias have not yet blossomed. I wait
for them and for you in this stiffening breeze.

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Full Moon in May

There it is again
tangled in distant trees with
spring winds at sunset,
creeping after Venus—O
the absolute barefaced gall

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Dancing Around Graves ([broken] poems from old notebooks—August, 1998)

I have seen enough funerals suspended in these trembling flowered fogbanks here
where the sun struggles to touch
rough-textured faces of rocks
& delicate open-pored trees

Death has kept me dancing here until
I have become almost graceful
sidestepping long & glittered blades
hammered out of bar-stock steel & polished
till the sky was blue, could be seen right there
16 inches long & tapered
hilted with rare woods & the flattened teeth of hippopotamus

(I have danced on water after midnight
the curious mouths of fish nibbling at my soles
& the green luminescence of photo-plankton frothing at my ankles)

& if I could remember the reason I came here, the reason I fell
down the long slope of time to now, to this
dying summer preceded by a spring blooming with burial, begun with spades turning sod
that ended & turned to summer with
petals of flame rising
from my cousin’s gas-soaked shoulders after he struck the match

if I could remember the reason for any of this, I might smile
really, might never write again, might be able
to finish this poem

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One Perfect Magnolia

Today I saw one
perfect magnolia in a photo,
ragged white petals
wrinkled with rusty creases,
and did not need a mirror

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A Quite Corpulent Catholic Priest

A quite corpulent Catholic priest
prayed at the parish Easter feast,
“Lord, thanks for the ham
and all the little lambs
that make our cassocks’ tenting increase.”

Var:
A quite canonical Catholic priest
Prayed at the parish Easter feast,
“Lord, please change this ham
Into tender spring lambs
By transubstantiation, capiche?”

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