Shape of its Leaving
hat full of light sat on our bed.
one knows who put it there.
one knows who took it away
if it put flowers to shame while it waited.
years I did not think I could live with the hat
of everything: no forehead
its brim, no eyes, no thoughts, only
leaking from somewhere deep in the crown.
I was tempted to touch the hat,
felt, a green band that accented
night. Sometimes I could hear it breathing
light shot out like piano chords.
one replaced the strings that broke
the beat of hammers.
hat sat on the bed and was ignored.
the light never changed.
did not pulse. It did not reflect.
did not turn on us in the bedroom
went up and up as the hat rested
to the foot of the bed
to the pillows.
one knows when the hat went away,
it went out of style, if it was stolen
if someone, one of the two of us,
lived alone in the house with the hat
it away like an artifact of no value that sends
to the ceiling and gets no answer.
now I forget the shape of its leaving,
sombrero, bowler, something
can cup blood without letting it
the sheets. Sometimes I walk
the close streets, ones that run
the bias of town and something
my eye, a feather, fingernail, petal
I turn toward the slim edge
it is nothing. It is never the hat.
one knows who took the hat away.
one knows how to get it back.
must have walked out in daylight
in sun like a towel
its waist while a key
down my throat.
years I prayed into the well of our hat
it might edge a little higher
the quilt, send the stark rays into our hearts
make lettuce grow. But nothing changed
the walls bent with the weight of night
the ceiling cracked.
you saw the hat now, would you know what hat
am talking about? Not the hat your grandfather wore
its grey days; not the hat my father wore
its sweat of oak. Not the hat of walking
the hat of age, but the last hat on the bed
up, leaking the oil of everyday, sweet lemon
olive light that you carried into the shower,
I carried into breakfast, that we carried into bed.
we never discussed the hat.
are a thousand flowers in my life now and birds
open like small boxes of polished mahogany.
is a keyhole in each breast. There is nothing inside.
years, a hat full of light sat on our bed,
queen-sized bed with matching sheets,
pillows and a fire in each one.
lean on the bed and listen to the rustle
birds deep in the mattress.
are coming unwound and I name them:
bird, mourning dove, sparrow.
hear their muffled calls as the seams bulge.
the bedroom, someone has taken the ceiling off.
one knows who did this.
one even knows if there was a house
on the diagonal, if there was a hat
our bed that could open like a bird,
and cat-weary. You pick up the phone
every day now, dial my number
whisper hat, hat, hat.
is a hammer lying on the floor of my bedroom.
want to pick it up but I don't pick it up because
would be a digression.
I pick up the hammer,
will leave an impression, hammer-shaped, in the rug because
is heavy and has lain there all night.
will look as if the hammer is still there
after I have walked out of the room and put it
in the toolbox.
carpet will not let go of its hammer-shape; it is not grass
will gradually lift itself after a night of heavy sleep.
will only stand up if I run my fingers through the fibers
vacuum; and if I vacuum, I will not stop
the foot-square shape of hammer, but will run through the house vacuuming
carpets and no one will remember
was a hammer.
night I brought the hammer into the bedroom
unstick the window swollen with winter
I was beginning to suffocate as the barometer dropped toward rain.
now, though I am in the kitchen and it is raining at last,
am thinking about the hammer and what it is doing alone
the bedroom pressing carpet fibers to the floor.
presses silently and does not move in any direction
down. It does not inch toward home but plows
my thoughts with the claw end made for prying
getting things unstuck
what will I discover inside but another toolbox
of anxious hardware: the screwdrivers, the pliers and wirecutters and an
empty space at the back