Although you have betrayed him in a dream,
you have betrayed him, and the infidelities
of sleep will change you: you
will find yourself suddenly in love
with the two young women
outside your window
whose voices and laughter fell
with last winter's snow. You will begin to think:
I am beginning to move among them.
But only you will be wearing a snap-brimmed
hat. When the knock comes, it will knock
a certain reticence. It will leave
your door covered in white knuckles.
And the windows will no longer breathe, they will die
like paintings. And will no longer be
worrying the stars into meaning, they will
already mean something, but that will only be the wind,
only the wind that will be
keen and keening.
All else will remain hidden and nameless.
By which I mean: your soul. By which I mean
you will begin by missing
your old sadness, that old country: a country
fielded in rye. A strange sore
will just then start to form
underneath your tongue.
You will always find yourself being unfaithful to someone.
You will always be gathering something from the landscape
then, finally, winter,
to once again
thin things out, down
to those two women's
voices. And their laughter, their laughter falling
with the new snow?
Perhaps by then you will no longer be in love.
Your infidelities will have changed you.
The Unhoused Heart
I was without lathe
Or hacksaw, I was
Not much at salvage:
Over the years a few soft planks
Of shittimwood and a large jar
Of bitten nails.
So I hired me a shipwright
No mere a apprentice
For the sake of the vessel:
Not just sail, and not just boat.
Enlisted him to launch me into
Hardship. He unjointed
Booms, tore down my jury-
Rigging, brought down the flawed
Bowsprit, the soot-covered
Spanker and the rest of my patchwork
Sails. Oh, he was stern, not gaff-
Headed, he went on gut-feeling,
Feeding me hardtack: three square-
Rigged masts and a homemade
Keel. But I was no Spar. Nothing stuck
To these ribs. And now
All that is left is the tarred breastbone
Of a ponderous bird.
But I had agreed, had said
I would do anything
To weigh down the smoke
In my nostrils.
I remember having pled: anything, anything,
For my keelhauledheart.