A Study of Lightning
there must be a way to measure
a wish a way
to shape a cloud without
having to contain it
[the pressure that cradled
you in terms of release
a way of reaching without:
[that series of broken
bottles cemented in fence tops]
on the porch mid morning
waiting for an approach
a change in sound
that pitch-signal secured
by language or salvage
[the way a cut is satisfied]:
that much of our daily truth
she said is just words to fill
a silence tell me she said
a day you want to remember
The love you’ve been given doesn’t correspond
—a paper flower tossed in the kettle
Where are its
its color and error, its
but that you hope is as it should be, saying,
Look, that hole in the sky, isn’t that
the version of paradise you remember?
The north peak’s upward thrust shoulders
the clouds, separates their load into manageable systems.
Pieces of ash descend. Dust, pollen,
In the beginning…
what is it that plumes makes its empty
cursive from your mouth
Won’t you find
it takes something deeply—something personal
unknown even by you?
[mended, amended, words redux by folds in paper]
The injustice of process and yield.
[the poem bare not barren]
How in the beginning…
early then—you left your wife naked
smelling the woods the darkness of her soil
through her shoulder—
you slipped the cold cut-offs stiff
over your knees illuminating every root
of hair, the linen shirt smelling
of lake-rot and walked barefoot in camouflage
the grass feeling the earth sink where the animals’
holes were to the lake the canoe the cold
aluminum slimy first against your palm
and then your feet and legs pushing off
from shore and pulling, pulling what
…out? pulling to a point in fog where nothing
is unduly reciprocated by its other side—
your shadow marking the surface equal
on all borders as you oar or unoar
Why have you found yourself here?
The promise of everything is equal.
Hungry. Rested but weary to find
the scuff of your own
[its pattern undefined as your memory]
Is this where your life is lost, coded
[You hope. Your hopes.]
into this pasty ether? Here.
You mark your distance by the proportions of your limits—
drifting into pace, bare, negotiating
your will forward against your desire to be still.
Your arms wet, cool, and aluminum.
A breath nesting along the polish of lake.