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Bruce Guernsey


For a door
the eye of a telescope.
the infinite galaxies of snow,
cinders for stars.

In this roundness
the dog alone 
circling his spot
can sleep.
The rest of us?—
searching for corners.

The only window,
a hole for fire.
The startled explorers,
their tracks
filling with snow,
seeing the smoke.

Those shadows on the wall
bending over the flame,
that flickering of hands
on the endless wall.
their lips are moving
but not a word.
Ice Storm
To go to bed one April night,
a halo around the moon,
to sleep for hours it seems,
so soundly
you never heard the sleet—

to waken so suddenly old,
all that green gone white,
the orchard creaking,
its branches brittle as ribs—

to squint at the light with milky eyes,

the great-grandchildren gathered near,  
all staring, all frightened—

to point towards the window,
someone wetting your lips—

to try to tell them.
Ice Fishing

When the doctor beams his line of light
in the water of your eye,
can he see the stars, the glisten of your tears?

I pull a bluegill from the dark,
its belly pink, the winter moon.
On the ice, it flops just once.

The eye of a fish is flat
for seeing under water.  Out here, in air,
nothing it sees has depth.

Summers, the pond a sky,
you can’t see in because of the light.
All you see is sky.

This afternoon it’s ten below,
the land, the ice I fish through, white.
I stare in the hole, jigging the line.
          -from New England Primer