I’ve been here long enough to know
the places where the floor creaks,
the secrets where the cat hides,
and the color of your eyes in anger.
Still I wonder, what makes a poem-
Is it the soft belly of the Frenchman who speaks
through cynicism and careless hair?
Or the berries that fall
with the shadow of the swallowtail
from the dogwood tree?
I see the slopes of the canyon
undulate in the Arizona sun
pink and orange in a photograph from a love
and the whole thing is wrong –
the chords, the lyrics, the snappy rhythm.
I find the joy immeasurable
in the words my baby says
exaggerated like springtime.
– Ooh! Cow!
So I take her to see the cows
A 40 minute drive under threat of rain.
The air digs layers through our skin, stays.
I am angry because they stand resolute against her
their tails swishing with the flies.
She doesn’t know to be disappointed but certainly
a cow should know enough to know that it is a cow
and to answer when called.
I lie in bed; she’s on me next to me over me.
Sleeping her tumbling infant sleep
full of cows and other small things she knows.
What if she grows careless and falls
for a Frenchman? Somewhere in the dark
is a mosquito full of my blood.
At cows and canyons and all of terrible nature.
It rolls inside me
A secret kept
soft-footed on a creaking floor.
It will take years for this snow
to melt. Salt-slushed, mud thick,
spotted with leaves and cigarettes.
The melting will run over
the streets like an absolute
The runoff will yank the spruce
up from the ground, roots
spread like an eagle and needles
soft as a rabbit’s nest.
It will need to be warm, but not too warm,
like a smile from an old friend.
A daffodil or two will pop
their organs through the sludge.
But I wouldn’t get too excited.
There’s always more winter.