A Cargo of Green Hearts
Today my bear self slipped out the back door
didn't even close it behind him, let the wind in to
rattle the house with its pointy, cold teeth. Wrecked the
neighbor's compost bin on the way into the darkness
that enveloped him the way a secret envelopes lips
and stamps them with a shudder. Left what was left
of me to go about the trudge of life: work, chores
distractions. See, when my animal leaves me
in this mortal hull, leaves me to the tame
sparrows that will peck out my eyes, leaves
me with the jigsaw puzzle language and head crowded
with marquee scripts, it's a warning: time to burn
something maybe. Time to go down into
the basement and roar until the house trembles
like a temporary heart. Time ride the bear
two fists of fur and face of brambles into the cave
under the lake where the dead are busy making
souls and the Night washes Her sun-frayed garments.
Nothing is more profound than the sight of a bear
kneeling beneath the earth of my love.
A shattering of logic, the kind of opening
Night requires in order to whisper the secret code
that unlocks the coffin for so long I've pretended was
I can hear the house contract in the cold
the way capillaries withdraw from skin
it's a natural habit in winter to stretch out
one's arms then draw in hold in fetally in
selfishly in all winter long just as the hoarding
bears contract into giant furred seeds and squirrels
build their little whirlwind nests of leaves
high up wrap featherduster tails around noses
and implode into a thoughtless sleep
trees stand still boulders drag snow
over their smooth hides and say less
than the nothing they usually say
meanwhile I, madman, who pretends
snow is like dirt am raking
green leaves around my body and
calling out for the last lingering bird to
land like a kiss.
my head has stopped.
the rustling panic of fallen leaves
falls away as I place my ear to a hole
in the thick earth and listen
to the proclamations of stones.
things are moving down there
so subliminally it is if they never began.
to say "I love you" in stone-speak takes
centuries. dying old people only
get to hear the first letter O
which reminds them how
we all loop back to the source
and how we, each of us, is born
to complete our own perfect zero.
but what about the second O?
the salmon knows, because he
is of the water, below reflection
and dies better than us
breathing raw air on the shore
of his liquid world. me, I am
still trying to sort out a secret birds
have told me, the way one can
learn how to stitch something to the
sky so that it lingers like a star.
a feather is required. I'm far behind
but catching up. I can thread a needle
and at least
there is utility in that,
when I sewed my eyes shut
and grew this emptiness
everything started whispering.
trees made room for me
to stand upright beside them
and take my small place
in the daily lifting of the sky.
the bellies of clouds slid longing
off my hands. there is no way to
describe that texture.
if you will ask me how I know
all these unscientific things are true
stay until it snows
and the dead among the leaves
speak their nervous rustlings
and I will teach you the how
and the how not of it
under a cool white blanket.
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