No poem intrudes     — but the ponies breakfasting

and     geese     seem unconcerned     — discovering

the sopped cardboard     — and     — since     suspense

suits     well enough     — approaching

with     just     such rhythm     to be certain     — until

the details     — roughly cut —

the coming green     / the silos     rusting     how many

vented     seasons     — agree

there     is     no escaping     lack     / tuitions     — and —

hearing     the next train     moan     — slipping

out of Sebring     at ten past     — how     the land leads

overland     — while     the last     daughter

wakes     to     schoolbooks     — from     dreams     of

Stock Queen Coronations     — with

her     court     / escorts     — and     convertibles     ahead

to take them     anyplace     they’re dreaming.

Day after day     the choices ask despair     or ask novenas —

and     day after day     he thinks     — the executioners

awake     — roll over     in time     with     straw essentials

to be counted     — seeding     their     sad

contaminants     — while     the young deer     — noshing

at the feeder     — shows     his     indifference

to     garden     plots     — to     knowledge      / ignorance —

no     longer     what they     promised     — and

to     the poetry     of     course     — unhurried     through

the lengths     of     its     expression      / through

phlox     clusters    ( he thinks )     — while     these hawks

this     afternoon     — looping     above

the flickering     storm-tower     — grateful     among

plain details     — seem     to sense      their place

in     concentration     — because     it’s     their story now —

the snap     of a bike-chain     say     — or     the limb

snapped tightly     on     the smoking chain     and blade —

or this bowed lilt now     — precluding

explanation     — since    it’s a time     to dance     / to skip

the lectures about timing     — a     deciding

time     — when the Conrail hauls east     — ends     here

in     remembering     — enters     the larger

storm      / the equation     or     exercise     — that     will

exhaust itself     and     leave this sunset     after all —

once     the lightning’s     stopped     / and     the hail’s

done its business     —  bringing     him

out of doors     again     — and     into     the land around —

to     stare down     spectacle     — to      ride

with these birds     the blasts     straight up     — through

redundancy     or     chaos     — sharing

the joy     become     of it     — that     Friday     could be

so good     — and     twenty-one years    so good —

this     feel     of     Ohio     everywhere     — absorbing

interest     — so good     he tells himself     — as     any

said     thing     is     — seeing    this late light     — playing

on her wine vases     / rock displays     — his

daughter’s     triumphing     — begun     ( he would say )

when     love     first     struck him

as     down     payment     — as     entertainment     once —

with     points     of  its own     to make     — and

convertibles     — turning on a time    — and explorations

certainly     — with     lovesongs     ahead     — and

grosbeaks     / orioles     — home again     from wintering —

hummingbirds     ahead     — scouting     the feeder

hung     for days     in     anticipation.  Already     he’s said

too     much.   There’s     blow-down

to clear     / stack     / cut down     to     chiminea lengths

two     snow-paled selves     will     share

as twilights     lengthen     over deck chairs     — reprising

tunes     and     tongues     / well-sought

and     seasonal     flirts    — adventuring     in     tenses —

with     one more     storm     behind —

one more parade     — and     one more child     schooling.

How     would you     react     if asked —

explain     as scuff-marks     or successes     — the poetry —

if asked     — and     its     insistent  lavishing —

but     no less     actual     — if     asked     — than     these

ends     of     spring     / these     sounds     of     the day

spelled     out     — than     these     rooms      two     enter —

having     rehearsed     to     entertain

then     put together     — assuming     amours — beheld

in     this     grainy chiaroscuro     — twenty-some

years     beheld     — repeating     in     color-whirls     / in

another     night’s     replenished     chiminea —

as if     they     had only now     looked out     — looked

into storm     / storm’s     aftermath     — and     found

this     months-old     deer     emboldened     — hungry

enough     to     camp     some     fifteen feet

beyond      their     backdoor     — but     bounding

as two     step out     — certain     ( they think )

how large      a months-old     target is     — how large

a place     a deer     might occupy      as     sentiment —

how     terrible     a click     might     seem

until     he turns     deep foliage.



The freshly-paved Used Lot     — announcing     cruises

chrome     / chamoised     panels

and     concessions     — plays     to     the common-sense

and     ways     we’ve been     transported–

through so many worlds     toward     / to so many worlds

still to be     and to imagine     — where

something     like love     evolves     and     yields instruments.

I’m walking     that porch-rail still     — painting

that third-story overhang     — overseen by the twins’ mother —

fixed     I suppose    at that same      screen-door

for     forever    — and    I suppose     amused     — if     fearful

to find     a kid     so used     by his employer —

a grandfather no less     / already camping     on a bar-stool —

until     the charmed scene     snaps

/ the paint-brush    slips     the death-drop     length     of light

straight down to drive-pebbles     — plunging

the way kids could     — with one mis-step     / miscalculation —

until     the kid     himself     erupts —

with      just about enough — a woman     turns    and shuts

and     warms     mid-morning     coffee     — counts

on     her own     sons’     jobs     / careers     — on     colleges

I can only guess     in half a century —

and     amused     I guess     — or     scandalized     — seeing me

flash     from     arm-borne     innocence

to ornery.  So    what will she say    for poems     — or     think

of Ohio now     — of     worlds     her sons

or     rocket rangers     must inhabit     — for     the cigarmakers

or     stool-warmers     — a     child     maybe

and     grandfather     or    landlord      — climbing     Danzer’s

high-noon     stools     for centuries    — think

of this cruise-in now     — or     make of dreams     / of clouds

/ of     light     the dreams     depend on     — say

for the voice of God     / the voice     of     God’s own prophet

redirected     — abandoned to rails or eaves

or to tin toys     or     to porchboards     — slipping     the ways

Time did     — through     brush-inflected     daylight —

as even     this mother’s surmise     / these     chips     of glass

recalled     — among     the drivestones

and     the summers     — these     flying figures     brightening —

as     house creatures     haunt     — and     — saints

be     praised!     — Rita     and     Jude     be praised!     — as

springtimes     and     summers    haunt     — and      faces

a mother     can never quite     stop counting     / painting

a mother trusts     has not quite     ended yet.

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