Sometimes the body smells a little
off, though we prefer not to talk about
those moments, and sometimes we would do well
to admit professional failures. Even shepherds
lose their sheep and with them the
wool that wraps the animals and what fatty,
sweet milk each ewe makes, brimming, as
it is, with gentle, delicate globes of fat.
But I have never been a shepherd.
My urge was only to join together
the small pieces of whatever strange
object you chose to muster up: an article, a
partridge, the sweat built up under your arms, a
child, the image of the moon in water, some
notes scribbled down then forgotten, then lost.
Don’t ask me to go there again.
The only objects I prize are memories of shorelines: me in
high-waisted jeans writing postcards to old students, small hints
of familiarity among the misspelled names, but in the end postage
ran out. I chatted with the mayor’s daughter. Her in a little hat.
Later the story resumed disguised
as the old novelist’s shopping list.
There’s always a rhythm, isn’t
there, that keeps us coming back, that reminds us
of a conversation’s subtle momentum.
But the shore has become disconcerting.
As if on cue, rats started to creep
in. The willows leaned closer for a view. Their
branches sported retinas, not leaves, never
That’s all right by me. I never
mind the mess, the noise, the waste.
North Georgia as Palatal Sound
The Oconee river, here to Uvalda————
Below I ground beans;
frozen in the Piedmont or Plateau.
And still the coffee keeps cold:
a blessing beside lilies, the beach.
The poem comes slowly; wasp at a
window. Writing a
like your first story.
We like the weather hot————
we prefer to see the sky directly————
that is, the old afternoon blab
turned sour. So we prefer our
consonants firm———— dental, not wilted.
No news, no horses; they lag while a
mountain moved on before them.
Evening in the blue ridge. Sun’s down.
Like all the rest, we say.