Poems of the Week


From the Train

Just before the sun vanished
behind a row of warehouses
and before it came flooding
back to rinse the shadows
off our clothes I noticed something—
It was only a scrap of paper,
but it hung on the exposed wall
of one of the partially demolished buildings
that floated past.
I also noticed the outline
of an old stairway
and worn florid green wallpaper
going up at least three flights
to where the paper hung
below the high streaked curve
of the sky in the almost horizontal
sunlight of the evening.
And I thought how whoever
once lived in that shape
must have written something on it.
Something important.
And nailed it up on the wall.
And later on left.
The way we all will leave
where we are now.
And then I imaged
it was even a poem
only the wind was reading.
And I thought how in the end
all that will be left is space.
Because we can’t destroy it.
And perhaps a few poems
in certain unsuspected
places that are there because they are.

Everything is True

There is a room of the past and a room of the cosmos.
A room of chandeliers and a room of peonies dropping
their pink beauty onto the old table. There is a house
with walls of weathered clapboard and paths that lead
both to the ocean and to the mountains and at dusk
to the anonymous blue airspaces of the city. There are
high double-hung windows and doors with etched glass
behind which the rooms are lit like yellow leaves in the
night. Everything is true inside the house as well as
outside the house—where at this moment rain is fall-
ing through the lit darkness around the streetlamps and
through space that has nowhere else to go.

Late at Night

It’s late at night
and I am on the train
and the man
sitting next to me
is eating himself up.
Limb by limb,
pant legs, shirtsleeves
shoulder blades and all.
The last thing he eats
is his skull,
chunk by thoughtful chunk
ending it
with his own mouth
chewing on itself
before swallowing
with a throat
that’s already gone.

*all from Astoria, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.

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