Jan Zwicky

Late Schubert

A warm night in autumn, summery,
lying on the bed upstairs, a dog
barking somewhere in the distance: you are thinking
of your childhood, your long-dead father, or not
thinking so much as letting them nudge up against you, boats
moored at the same dock on a still night, and a wavelet
made by who knows what wake, what storm, lifts them gently,
together, air glassy with calm, the moon
staring down. Isn’t love
always like this? – A spider’s thread, spindrift 
with the tensile strength of steel. The light must fall
just so to make it visible, faint gleam
twisting above you, pulling
from so deep, so far back, you think it must be anchored
some place before you were born.
                                                               And the fever,
the restlessness, the way the heart surges
against the breakwater, plunges,
and surges again: isn’t this 
the same thing? – Love
afraid it won’t get home, afraid
it will forget. Is dying 
that hard? It’s horizon
is the same shape as your life – wild hillsides
pointing to the wind, the sea
heaving under the sky’s emptiness.
                                                                Let your hand
move into that darkness above your face: almost
you can feel the stars –
                                             their silence,
steady on the other side.