It was hard to know where to place my feet.
The hillside, all golden dust and steep decline and you,
if it was you, if you existed, springing up like some mountain
goat, while the left behind welled up in my throat until you came
bounding back down. The first night there were street
lights and black water, and it wavered underneath
me as I wavered under your insistence. How are you?
Where are you? (But there is some other factor at work
behind the overall warming)
It was easy to know where to place my hands.
So much. All the time. Even with smog wetting
the rosy dusk, as far out as the cranes- have they
ever truly bent? Unloaded anything?- quivering
in their haze at the horizon of my twenty sixth year.
Their frozen latticed necks stretched away from our
inland sun, pining after billows of fog, nudging
to be pet. We stood in pink light among the Eucalyptus.
I never told you, of all the other words for it, burrow
is my favorite. (The bells of the churches rang
at the time of evening prayers)
And then it was all:
(One of those officers ,______, went on last year to shoot and kill unarmed _______.)
(I went down to the river, I didn’t mean to stay)
(Every city was a collection of chimneys. I don’t know why houses collapsed and chimney did not.)
But then, you. Asking when, and where. And there was barbed
wire fencing round a botanical garden, there were fallen trees
like bridges to balance on, our arms wide and teetering,
I noticed flakes of dead bark grooving themselves into soil
And there was a dry side and a wet side of the hill
But not once did you ever say lower your voice.
You just said am I seeing you? And do you see
that hellish pink light, loving its way through thickets
and twigs, sticking in slivers of fire to your skin, to the earth,
in my eyes. You said it was fire got loose, and I didn’t say
It is the act, not the object, of worship which makes us love
empty sanctuaries, or anything set on fire by the day’s flight
but perhaps you knew this. Yours was a disappearance I noticed.
These nine days I have checked all your cardinal directions
and next to me, I am seeing, still, that space in the air…