On Windy October Nights
On windy October nights
Composers refrain from
Rising blue-green crescendos.
They lay aside bright sound-shapes
Of water chasing itself to the sea,
Or thousand-voice choirs
In sunny meadows.
On the dark side of equinox
Flutes rest, and strings voice only
Cold wind on fence wire.
Now comes the percussionist:
Dry bones clacking in treetops,
Beggars’ fingers tugging at heaven
For one more day.
Forgotten fields shush in thrashing wind
Like sea waves returning to shore alone
To empty a widow’s heart of any hope
In spring’s return.
This is the music of los Muertos
Played with cold hands against
The breath-thin veil between worlds,
Tracing lost faces in shadow.
Rainbow Green Blessings
The skinny young woman on the bus
is talking softly on her phone.
She speaks in tones
that only foreshadow words,
whole notes of vaguely musical breath.
It is right to call her skinny.
Shoulder bones hold her jacket up
like slacking tent poles.
Something inside shies away from
skin and sinks toward a
vanishing point in her belly,
near her waiting womb.
There is still a trace of little girl left
in the way honeyed hair strays
from the clip at the back of her head—
faintly bright with weary exuberance.
Her hand wanders upward to
lazily tame it.
She sits with her legs drawn up and in,
the toes of her shoes
her only contact with the ground,
as if the world were covered in water
far too cold for a deep plunge.
I want to take her home,
to feed her a meal of handmade hope
then recline for hours by the fire
playing Go Fish, laughing and
pointing to the schools of
rainbow green blessings
darting around us still.
I know a man who thinks
Life is hard.
It is a hook he swallowed
In school and now
He can't remember
What the still water
Tastes like under roots
Near the lazy bank.
All day and all night he faces into
The swiftest current and feels
Sharp rocks on his belly,
Afraid to move, afraid to turn
And look into the black mouth
Life is hard, he thinks,
A prison of solitude and lack,
All fallen, man and earth.
Nearby, a fawn steps with reed legs
Into the singing river,
Lowers her head