I / Conversation
The tumult in the heart
keeps asking questions.
And then it stops and undertakes to answer
in the same tone of voice.
No one could tell the difference.
Uninnocent, these conversations start,
and then engage the senses,
only half-meaning to.
And then there is no choice,
and then there is no sense;
until a name
and all its connotation are the same.
II/ Rain Towards Morning
The great light cage has broken up in the air,
freeing, I think, about a million birds
whose wild ascending shadows will not be back,
and all the wires come falling down.
No cage, no frightening birds, the rain
is brightening now. The face is pale
that tried the puzzle of their prison
and solved it with an unexpected kiss,
whose freckled unsuspected hands alit.
III/ While Someone Telephones
Wasted, wasted minutes that couldn’t be worse,
minutes of a barbaric condescension.
—Stare out the bathroom window at the fir-trees,
at their dark needles, accretions to no purpose
woodenly crystalized, and where two fireflies
are only lost.
Hear nothing but a train that goes by, must go by, like tension;
nothing. And wait:
maybe even now these minutes’ host
emerges, some relaxed uncondescending stranger,
the heart’s release.
And while the fireflies
are failing to illuminate these nightmare trees
might they not be his green gay eyes.
Beneath that loved and celebrated breast,
silent, bored really blindly veined,
grieves, maybe lives and lets
live, passes bets,
something moving but invisibly,
and with what clamor why restrained
I cannot fathom even a ripple.
(See the thin flying of nine black hairs
four around one five the other nipple,
flying almost intolerably on your own breath.)
Equivocal, but what we have in common’s bound to be there,
whatever we must own equivalents for,
something that maybe I could bargain with
and make a separate peace beneath
within if never with.
= David Hoak