for the land before us,
there are still the cataract
clouds, the shapes we watch for,
the hardened ground
come winter opening its great body
into a pale reliquary.
And when it rains come spring,
we know to huddle close.
There must be names
for the warmth of bodies,
the emptiness of so much
stillborn land. Even children know
that stars gathering
in a swollen sky
must still be lonely.
THE FIRST BIRDS
of analgesic stars. Or day stews in its loam pot.
Is this what it means to be alive? Earth dreaming an augury
of living ash. Then, come dim morning, something thrashes
into air. Something evolves or devolves outside
the bedroom window in gray light. Calls as primitive
as the odalisque moon, so many dark feathers.
Then clouds begin slipping nearer with fluency or away.
And hours pass in the language of earth then vessel, vessel
then earth, though nothing knows to hold its shape for long.