Like water, remember the night you howled
at the moon and swallowed the streetlights
outside. Electric glow soft & white in your mouth.
Tongue burned because, as always, you held the fire
too long. Light-years away & you wake up clutching
someone’s dead bones, which escaped from the dream
as you were falling into it. Now: your head is a shovel.
You’re standing in the backyard, digging a hole
for the past & the future. In each mouthful of dirt
you unearth all manner of small & necessary things:
roots, the impression of flight, skeletons old & new,
dozens upon dozens of unknown creatures
who, never receiving thanks, toil day & day
to give us back the earth. In the trees
apples swell & rot inside their summer skins.
How many more times can you write about
the pond in winter, light falling
in & out of your bedroom window, the locusts
meditating on your back porch at dusk, pages
filled with the same big & little words
all spelling out desire? How many more times
can you fall asleep drowning? How many more times
can you greet the same ghosts? Even knowing, as you do,
that come each morning, they will disappear
into a new snowfall of sun. Still, the heart
holds on to the possibility of possibility. Beholden
to this haunting, you glance outside at every passing cloud,
waiting to see the bodies fall to the earth
like lightning. Instead, only shadow. Instead,
you wake & wake & wake, lost in a maze of faces
you once recognized—theirs, & your own.
Memory shakes loose from your throat
& drifts noiselessly into air, to return someday
as familiar weather. In its wake, only the shape of heat
to show that something once lived there. What name
will you give to this bodiless hunger? What name
will you give to me when we’re dead?