Rita Dove

A Father out Walking
on the Lawn

Five rings light your approach  across
the dark. You’re lonely, anyone

can tell — so many of you
trembling, at the center the thick

dark root. Out here on a lawn
twenty-one years
gone under the haunches of a neighbor’s

house, American Beauties
lining a driveway the mirror image of your own,

you wander, waiting to be
discovered. What
can I say to a body
that merely looks

like you? The willow, infatuated with its
surroundings, quakes; not that violent
orgasm not the vain promise of

a rose relinquishing
its famous scent all for you, no

not even the single
brilliant feather

a blue jay loses in flight
which dangles momentarily, azure scimitar,
above the warm eaves of your house —
nothing can change

this travesty, this
magician’s skew of scarves
issuing from an opaque heart.

Who sees you anyway, except
at night, and with a fantastic eye?

If only you were bright enough to touch!