The Crying Earth

It is as if
it happened:

the ancients
piled and split,
already rotting,

twigs of replacement
posing with covering shovels
and believing dignity.

I have no connection to
the crying earth.

Seventy years of fragrant
soil has been
fastened into stone
above it,

so solid,
some no longer
believe who it covers.

Yet, more than pity —
the shards of
belief fractured
by time —

this is memory:

the bruising fruit of
borrowed eyes,

the legacy of
the witness.

(for Primo Levi)

From Four Weeks

Even from four weeks,
you are all contemplation,
a tiny brow heavy
with patience.

Your grandfather sh
your expression often.
Even before his own children
were grown, he would sit,
think of you,
and wait.

Remember Malcolm,
first born
first born
first born:

circumstances formed things
until he could not wait any
longer, but between
your other stalwart names
your grandfather still sits.

Think of him waiting
and be patient.

(for Malcolm Fraser Abraham)

Meeting Time

The bleeding
brave the cold
in search of carrion.
Their wounds are
mouths of pain,
with no time
for healing,
for silence.

Finding the silent dead
to feed on,
gratitude is no longer
necessary, but
the electricity of the
blood continues moving

It isn’t difficult to
meet time:
over electric blood,
truth is ability

breathing the
patient solitude
of dreams.


O, New York poet,

where did you find
your dusted birds
and tree of death?

Christmas is coming
and I’m going to Boston.
I know it isn’t Vienna,
but can I get them there too?

And can I get them
without paying duty?

Or will I just find you:
Alive in
an orange cover
and pebbled photograph.

Sea (for STC)

A bird between
the Lord and I,
Ponderous and muscled,
between us,
boding goodness.

No bird between
the Lord and I,
neck broken,
only a picker
with sharpened blade.

No sharpness to
the blade, blunted
by my desires,

Life in
the writhing.

No writhing to
my existence,
wrought by my
own permission,

there is penance and
understanding for
all but me.