You have the advantage
of fire: with anger you cauterized
a growth that you judged
malignant, for a year or three
to be safe. If now
in some private valley the ashes
conceal a basic contour, inhibit
seeds of the wind
that might spring again -- let them be,
you are busy with other crops
and the pleasures of metaphor.
Rain upon rain may leach
their bitterness almost completely,
leaving you humus and an open
space. Though the deep stumps
still smolder you think you may feel this
beginning, and in such growing
your only muse can be patience,
time and chance.

I bear the weight
of glaciers, bearing frozen chunks
of tears to sea millenia
and continents from their falling,
the chains of everything begun
and brought to no term,
every farewell not yet cried for.

One drop for a rush on an open stairwell
            innocent as acid,
One drop for retreats in the continental night.
One drop for Lady Madonna, making ends meet
            on too little in Evanston.
One drop for a flurry of bedtime tickles.

One drop for your legs around my neck
            and sweet thrashing.
One drop for the sway of the reed in your spine.
One drop for being rocked asleep in your boat
            in the lonely night.

One drop for the mansions of a spare-room mattress
            in adventure.
One drop for tea in my typewriter frenzy.
One drop for the love of a rabbit surprised
            in your headlights.
One drop for your questing studenthood.

One drop for opinions flashing like scissors.
One drop for your maddening metaphysics
            of shadow and air.
One drop for the lonely pride of your mothering.
One drop for the freedom you meant her as gift
            and blindly defend .

One drop for the bones of your shoulders dancing
            under my hands or eyes.
One drop for the muscles of your chin,
            how they quiver and cluster in feeling.
One drop for the lakeside slopes of your cheeks
            and all the sad waters.

One drop for your harmonies of old violet
            and grandmother rose.
One drop for pastorales of lace and glass.
One drop for the troika that failed to go.
One drop for the sister it left you to love.

One drop for a pilgrimage of love
            and its paralyzed reception.
One drop for the naked grace of your poems,
            another for how they struck me
One drop for each beckon of a cat lilting on the twilight.
One drop for each time your feet on the stairs
            call me to watch through my jungle.

One drop for your cry for my teeth
            and your shimmering wordless song.
One drop for how you opened me
            to what you had never opened before.
One drop for blood knowledge joined in the night.

One drop for daring the pig himself
            splendid in anger, auburn lightning.
One drop for each roof and waterpipe
            you learned nothing about from me.
One drop for each time I could not approach you
            with things of my day, for all the weight.

One drop for this infelicitous form
            and the helplessness of having chosen.

Rain, rain, rain, rain.



for Sky, end of 71


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