Water Tank Cosmogony
The leaves that sank to its bottom
were not magnified by the trembling
of the liquid, not its stillness, nor
its bevel at the corrugated
A season decanted where a bullfrog
drummed his throat to the black gnats
strafing the watery lens—
across that long drought summer
when we sold the herd, through fields
of parched, uneaten pasture,
did he hear
its oval note of rain and aluminum?
I would have turned the valve that night
let the water flow, a rippling plane,
into the grass, but I just stood
frozen like the frog in the beam
of my flashlight, while the deep grass
roar of summer pulsed around
and a meteor swam, I swear,
like a tadpole through the glistening dark.
Our bodies every seven
years are completely fresh-
materialed— seven years ago it was not this hand that clench'd
itself against Hammond.
Keats, Letter to George Keatses in Kentucky, September 1819
Coyotes are passing
swift and scratchless up the mud-dark sloughs
they call to us from the sawbriars, discarnate they yelp
at the moon reflected
on the river’s wrinkling skin. Daddy flicks a cigarette from the bed
of the truck, its arc
like our own through the
darkening, bodiless air.
We travel, it seems,
away from the still-lit portion of the field or something like it,
flutter like moths
the shadow the barn casts or, to put it simply, the fencerows
are blooming again.
A week? Two? The honeysuckle bares
its dripping fangs
to the barbed wire.
What is the element that fills the spaces we vacate, that trembles
like a wall of water
the way back? This scent of boundaries and incursions
that rises with the warm air
off the river comes, as I do, from
a source in the knotted spring.
from the tail-lights’ bitter glow to the woodline, through dark,
leaves. I press my face into the night and toward
unreachable now, a face in the weeds that was mine, a sturdy
breaking into light.
-from Dismal Rock