and a Roof
If only I were fluent in another language, I might be fluent at last and
at least in this one.
When I hear an angel rustle in the matrix of vines and hedges amid a
thousand thorn spurs,
When the screw-head is stripped and no tool I own can turn it,
When I find a pale blue egg fallen, unbroken,
in the green shade of
the shriveled irises,
It is my own wordlessness by which
I set down the moment and its
Underfoot, the ground
gives way to what was a yellow jackets’ nest,
but it is winter,
And what might have been five months ago stories of stings is merely,
it turns out, a twisted ankle.
Through a trapdoor, Jesus, having harrowed hell,
pulls Adam up by
the forearm onto stage.
times, when I lived on the karst topography of Missouri,
heavy spring rains,
The roof of a cave gave way and a sinkhole opened and swallowed a
house, Black Angus or two.
I put a single poppy
seed inside a mason jar, screw on the top, and call
put a single pomegranate seed inside a mason jar, screw on the top,
and call it Persephone.
Soon enough four walls are lined with shelved jars— one with a
spindle in it, one with snake skin…
And those who enter the gallery praise the idea of the project. Not one
Attends to craft, how not a lid is
mis-threaded, how the shelves are
level, the nails countersunk.
Lost in the woods, not
acquainted with the sublime, not stumbling
upon it by journey’s end,
I found no clues of
East or North in the snow clouds ferried on the
wind. No sun, no stars,
Not a single landmark
visible through the pines,
acres of oak,
The principalities of the screech owl, no other footprint in the vole’s
I was lost, not predator, not prey, but I am here and so I conclude I
found my way.