Winter wind thrashing the pines
like a mad guitarist
who only knows the single chord of himself.
The trees relent to resist the power
and shake the rain off
like dogs that have finished swimming.
Dirty window. Snow slumped
over the roots of everything
like a waiting crocus
in the bulb of itself
brewing its violets.
I look at the roiling sky
and my heart stews it like a bedsheet
to disinfect it of old passions
that once stained it like the moon.
First you suffer the pain of the loss,
and then, worse, the loss of the pain.
There’s a grammar for language
and an intuitive logic of metaphor
that is the grammar of poems and dreams,
and math may be the unlimited ally of matter,
and the law hold auditions
to discover who’s right and wrong,
and thoughts may arise
like the untethered kites and testflights
of new constellations
that keeping crashing and burning
like windfalls of fireflies
and enlightened chandeliers,
and even an embryo has HOX genes
to tell it where to put the eyes
above the nose and the mouth
in the long sentence it is growing
like Canada geese heading south in the fall,
but I’ve never discovered,
and I’ve been looking for years,
any order or path to my life
that wasn’t a journey
without origin or destination
more subtle and supple and insubstantial
than the wind, or the moon’s reflection
on the microdroplets of my cold, winter breath.
I’ve bluffed and improvised
and lied and guessed
and dared and jumped
like Basho’s frog into the old pond
of the world---Splash!---all the days of my life,
like a man who doesn’t know
if he’s got a parachute on.
I’ve been drowning in stars
that filled my lungs with light
until I could learn to breathe in the radiance
of the life that flashed before my eyes
like the snakefire of a lightning bolt
liberating fireflies from their halos
so they could wear the horns of the galaxies.
For one deluded moment there
I actually thought I was doing some good,
but it wasn’t long before I discovered
I had to remove the intention
before I could.
Now the flowers bloom
all around me by themselves
and I rain whenever I feel
the lonely bells of the sea
have ripened enough within me to fall
and I see what the rain sees
and later, if it’s summer,
the clean flowers
and the wet bees.