my dust is here and ready to travel the other half of all we have


into the round hole in quiet moss
into the hand    opened    waiting

the blue flowers of her cloak
stirred by rain

and the rain climbing down
the knees of the soil as

slow as your life in a dream
we cannot separate

the secret from the offering


awake and breathing
            watching words
drizzle against panes i
            can’t be reached through
quiet centuries of rain
            standing under
my thirst
            the heart no one
            in a white sky
            suddenly open


whose face i have never seen
who brought me the gift i
         only desire
                  in her presence
who also held and kissed
         her child's cold body
                   and still had to live
whose breath could not
          bring life back
to whom the moon and the dark
         entrance belong
         the walk of sunlight through
         a windless forest and
         the longing to love
she who knows
         my heart will wear out


who is
the thunder and
who is the storm cloud
and wind
the tumultuous music of rain
is what happens
intense song-bursts of light
collisions of sky
            rolling bonding
above the earth    with the earth
            where you are


the work of the sun
            is wine on my skin
and summer heat in my veins
            the work of the sun
is with the roots of the river
            and cannot be lifted into light
the work of the sun
left my father an orphan
trespassing within his own blood
the work of the sun
is what the house finch is saying
and what i am saying
to ourselves and to all others
the word you came from
will rise again


when it fades
            the sky appears an empty bowl
when our lips are long closed
            memory must breathe through our skin
each day my face reappears in this river
            for the sake of the traveler who doesn’t return


what have i done with my longing
why have i brought her to stale Ohio
to the selfish soybeans
into the company of sycamores
            who are as they should be
                        in the polluted nights
and who think of going nowhere else


when i am without
and the prison of sunrise
is that the moment
                                    you say
the lie


to begin again
            in the labyrinth of the womb
of astonished silence
like a white chrysanthemum
            in deep shadows
in new flesh
before the earth has weight
before the dust of the savior
            comes down from the wind
before the road takes leave of the shore


the moon
            lost her way
along the river
and i lost
my way across
            the sky
and the gentle
            light opening
in the arbor
            of sleeping faces
is not meant
            for eyes


now the rain stops
in mid-afternoon
now the moon can’t
be seen but
i know she is singing
in the small burrow
she makes
in the bank of the river
now i walk through
the window
and across
the wet sky
to where dream faces
are drifting    
without sound
above the dark river
and through
the sycamore trees


detached from the poem
            there is always a voice drinking and dying
            there is always a noisy fountain dying of thirst
but in here where there is no sound   
i hear the voice
of the friend who loved you
fields of light and darkness
no one else is going to touch—
this Ohio grows old within me       
a woman releases the raven’s feather
she has always owned
my body no longer dreams it is a river
            and what cannot be understand is hushed
and earnest
gathering its breath


i don’t understand
the within
of what i’m seeing
that rises up
in sinuous
white limbs
across the kindness
of the river

it breathes
from my heart

we share
space in the dream

mother sycamore
            of the long sculpted shadows
            of the ruined wind
your nave


who taught me to love another language
            to follow what i do not know

thus the house i lived in has abandoned me
            and the water no longer asks my name

the god of death chants with children
            of the longing that is lost in my face

i have the eyes to hear her searching for me
            in a life before this    in the mirror of the earth

because i died i am living
now the soil of extinguished souls begins to sing
and those who bestow blessings will throw open    my rose

( your window remains dark because nobody knows you
            before an audience of words lying in frozen silence
            dance eyes who cannot hear a call from the dark )

before going ahead i am already gone
            this is the blessing i wished for
            for the harvest of mystery will come on a day no one can forsee or explain


the road back to dark    or dawn
is everything—and innermost
and these are the last few undisputed miles:

a slow moon plows the sky above
            cornstalks shiver in the grid of night
and a small boy falls from his private tree
            as the face that made his world
looks away


the moon we separated from
            massive, tired      lost on the beach
where i wanted to walk alone


i walked from my dream
            through tall brilliant grasses
i walked from my dream
            into the place where we lie

the whole universe is here    disappears
when the waters come again

we are no longer separate centers
            we are as naked as the mystery of night
as one small body
            at the edge of fear
in a hollow of the moon


it is delicious to be long away
from the face closed in a rose
it is delicious to reject the mansions
entrusted to never forget
it is delicious to wear the pure robe
in which god knelt down
to embrace a childhood     open to death

we need these desires     
the full moon
feeds on


the warmth in my blood is a lifetime of knives
quarrels with the moon, magnificent
the warmth in my blood is a delight

though i have doubts    i weigh and decide about other’s lives
no idea of existence puts color in my cheeks
this blood has some light from the birth of the sky:

those in the towers    left behind
the ocean parted from its farthest shore
beneath a pearl of light that failed to march with time


the day comes when the shadows throw down their dancers
            and a bell rising to the wind spins out of one’s life

how long is a lifetime in the labyrinth raised by death
            how long is a dream to the sleepers who lose their way

around the spark of night gather those who know existence
            where next in the web will i become


the sun of this day bleeds to death
            for the lives no man thinks of

snow fall across the mountains of the moon
            as moist and steamy as the newly dead

and there begins a silence
            that reaches so deep   it answers itself


i would rise to you    crows and black vultures
and lie on the shores of your air, if i could

i want tides to wade through me until i am the frail and unfinished poet
i want to write down the flaws of the sycamore

who is it i hear crying in the silence of strange bodies
who is it i hear weeping in the places you have been

there is a shadow across the vision i was close to once
when the horizon between worlds had been crossed


a poem that holds its breath    is how one grows
the tiny ground one stands on
that could be a grave


wakefulness returns    with the inrush of air into kingdoms starved of light
wakefulness returns    with rain-filled apples reaching for the hands of god
wakefulness returns    when the face you could not grasp rises from its seed

wakefulness restored


i died as a child
in a light that was missing
in a light held by tunnels
toward a birth left behind

toward the cold and the silence
stretched out and waiting
am i rising or falling

i lived as a child
by a dark hole in the wind
the wind of huge trees
in the roots of the corn

toward the silence and the cold
stretched out and waiting
i am falling and rising


i still feel the weight of the hand
lifting stones from the waves
setting waves on the scale
when we were children in the world
and the darkness seething
round each candle-lit face
was heavy with hope


i hear wings
uncertain if they know delight—
black sounds calling across the lake of the eye

in the meadow of the eye
i tremble without moving
in dreams that feel like snow

and while the true eye
that asks for nothing
keeps watch beneath the moss
i cool the ashes of my wounds
in dew
from the source


birth is the hunger
one eats alone
—and a poor red cardinal
as broken as the sea
            without a song
            maybe wingless
is the only seed given
to the child


heron    blue
from the cave of the moon
to the dimensions of winter stillness
naked path of grace

that leaves one lost in the sky


a way of life that is too narrow
fits me
the way white thirst matches
                                                holes in the sky
the way death
            and the not yet real
mingle equally within the living body


the light sinks down in mud
            now darkness can open new doors
now the secret horizons i saw as a child shall return


i am the shipwreck under sail
           searching for her darkness
or the pearl you discover when drowning
            caught in a dream outside himself


there was no one near to help
                                               he believed
           the dark under the oak was an orphan
                                               was a broken seed
there could be no rising from


a precarious life climbs up inside you
           a black butterfly    in the heart's incense
                        dark and delicate tendrils of wine


simple fall and crystalline
intricate machines of vanished moments
the outside of silence ::


a small light can attract the darkness
mouth of sighs    breath of hearts


through a dark hole in the wind
                                   falls the dust that becomes song—
             sighs that have known being human


the naked eye is a question for the moon—
           extinguished    alone    dressed in white bone


the tiny bones of what i have not been
           are like sycamores without fear
or a girl who is happier than the moon


the rose within the rose    is what i hold in the deep of my hand


then i woke with the sun on the backs of wild geese
            as the branches of day were spreading


what is the sound of an island of night    in a sea it cannot name


coming home at twilight falls away    and i am aware of the wings that hold us down


in the perfect darkness of what is to become    is there a name for the mother of dawn


will the landscape of the last dawn arrive gently    in the mirror of a voyage without end


my black years fall around me, blood of the night    a body without sky without stars


with my ear on the ground i am singing to this     what dies in a man when he lives


in pockets of darkness forgotten to the world    may your dissolving have its way