I thought that if I could begin in a pasture, an indigo
river stretched out next to me.
But there’s no way to begin or enter in. I only
opened the door for lack of anything better
to do. In come the children, waist
high and wet headed, locking their swords in
an immigrant embrace.
Outside the planes go down like drugged birds, blackening
the grass and beginning to imitate acceptable corpses,
a field of dead bodies good for so many things
and not one of them
must we want to think about. In New Orleans
we flew our plane in a vertical bank, one wing in the street, the other
in our arms, the other formerly caustic but now learning how
to love the culpable, the other
as a cradle to carve from the wet wood of the only tree for
miles and miles and miles, genial home of Mr. Bobcat
double crossed and frozen
in the deep freeze. And in our lovely plane
we passed within ten feet of the façade,
the roar of the motor rattling
the panes like castanets.
After that siege fires were made, dotting the countryside like Christmas
lights, cauldrons like enormous cannonballs cradling bubbling stew.
The Chinese cook (an unintended cliché, I wonder?) is stirring
our pot with a white, plastic canoe paddle.
He speaks to me without looking up:
After our plane crashed it kept humming, the engine ticking like a cricket.
For many, many days like a clock…
But it depends upon where you start: you may view the workers
with pride and romance, none weary seeming though all
the while they drip with sweat. But the division
more recently arrived are talking attack, their sights set at dusk
(locally called ‘the hour between dog and wolf’).
Last night at the officer’s party a raven told me: “Where I am from
when you’re flying in the morning you can hear someone
whisper on the other side of the county.” It was then
I noticed the sandwich I was eating
was coated in mold. God
who has made the heart to see, will you miss me
when I’m sold? We hung our harps and
stopped our songs. Oh, darling,
where you been so long?