Building on Sand: Poetry

Building on Sand

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1
Everywhere the afternoon
gropes steadily to night.
Some people have lit fires;
others read by candlelight.

Geese litter the river bank,
drifts of snow their whiteness,
stained with freshet mud;
or is it the black
of midnight’s swift advance?

They walk on thin ice
at civilization’s edge.
Around them,
the universe’s clock
ticks slowly down.

2
Who forced that scream
through the needle’s eye?

Gathering night,
the moon on the sea bed
magnified by water.

Inverted,
the big dipper,
hanging its question
from the sky’s dark eye lid.

Ghosts of departed
constellations
walk the night.

Pale stars scythed
by moonlight
bob phosphorescent
flowers on the flood.

3
The flesh that bonds;
the bones that walk;
the shoulders and waist
on which I hang
my clothes.

Now they stand alone
beneath the moon
and listen at the water’s edge
to the whispering trees.

They have caught the words
of snowflakes
strung at midnight
between the stars.

Moonlight is a liquor
running raw within them.

4
There are striations
in my heart, so deep,
a lizard could lie there,
unseen, and wait
for tomorrow’s sun.

A knot of
sorrow in daylight’s throat;
the heart a great stone
cast in placid water,
each ripple
knitted to its mate.

Timeless,
the worm at the apple’s core
waiting for its world to end.

Seculae seculorum:
the centuries
rushing headlong.

5
Matins:
wide-eyed
this owl hooting
in the face of day.

Somewhere,
I remember
a table spread for two.
Breakfast.
An open door.
“Where are you going, dear?”

Something bright has fled the world.
The sun unfurls shadows.
The blood whirls stars
around the body.

“It has gone.” she said. “The magic.
I no longer tremble at your touch.”

6
You can drown now
in this liquid
silence.

Or you can rage against this slow snow
whitening the dark space
where yesterday
you placed your friend.

The silver birch wades
at dawn’s bright edge.

Somewhere,
sunshine will break
a delphinium
into blossom.

7
Tight lips.
A blaze of anger.
A challenge spat
in the wind’s face.

High-pitched
the rabbit’s grief
in its silver snare.
The midnight moon
deep in a trance.

If only I could kick away
this death’s head,
this sow’s bladder.

Full moon
drifting
high in a cloudless sky.

8
After heavy rain
the house shrinks.
Its mandibles close.

A crocodile peace
descends from the jaws of heaven.

I no longer fit my skin.
Iguana spots itch.
Walls encircle me,
hemming me in.

The I Ching sloughs my name:
each lottery ticket,
a bullet.

None with my number.

9
Late last night I thought
I had grasped the mystery:
but when I awoke
I clasped only shadows and sand.

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4 thoughts on “Building on Sand: Poetry

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