SONG THE FIRST
I must leave the door open
in case she wants to come see me.
I leave the door open
should she want to find me.
If I kept it closed
the wooden door would be
a vertical pond
she would float along
she a slow vapor would float along
What is standing up or lying down
to her? The body suffers each
But I believe she is not suffering.
She is just intimately parallel
to floor or roof or lawn or shop window
or my body. She is hydrophilic,
lithophilic, sanguiphilic, spiraphilic,
ossophilic, terraphilic, lignaphilic,
her body as if it were a mass of
charged metal filings.
She is near but cannot enter again.
In the corner of the room there is a gesture.
Just a gesture. In every room, in the right-most corner.
From the right-most corner of my eye, in the living room
or bathroom, bedroom, hallway, I see her-gesture.
Just the gesture of the arm in the navy long-sleeved dress
(just the sleeve, cuffed, buttoned in mother-of-pearl).
The hand will rise or swing out for . . .
In all the rooms I enter. As I enter, there is her-gesture,
in the right-most corner. Even after I’ve settled and napped
or read or talked long about an ill.
She is by her ornamental table, her hip at the carved edge.
In every room in the right-most corner is the round wood table
and her hip at its edge.
Just the arm and the hip.
Just the gesture.
Just the table, the arm, and the hip.
And the gesture
like breath, like breathing.
The fingernails are the portals.
The fingernails the eyes,
the fingernails the wood
The fingernail will show the grain.
The fingernails the true wood
The ridged thumbnail was coated with clear polish
as if it were a little table
a lovely rosewood table
where the grain
has been revealed.
Not for sitting at
and sometimes for placement
for the grain revealed
Here was the true wood revealed.
Where there was hardship
between the mother and the mother’s mother
there was the collection
of pitchers, also
that they both might stand and admire,
or touch and turn,
in their dresses
next to each other
and the eyes, the moist eyes,
watched the beauty of the pitchers
on the dark wood ledge
that ran along the windows.
Afternoon of light through the swirled or pebbled glass
made viscous with color.
The watching of the pitchers:
They sang together
he watching of the pitchers.
sweet lyric, sweet round, sweet lyric, sweet round
SONG THE SECOND
The wooden gloves and the hat of wood, too.
The wooden camisole and half-slip:
these in the old oiled dresser.
In the shadowy end of the cedar-lined closet:
the beautiful gleaming
Who waited once, and who is waiting now,
to wear them.
Once, they say, there was a wooden purse
and in it a little wood book
and a whole ring of wooden keys.
True or not,
among us all each
felt the loss,
among us all each
feels the loss.
At some point, perhaps, there should not be
on the wood.
Just because there is only water
with a bit of garlic
there is soup.
But at some point perhaps, when the wood
has been transformed,
and it is in the home, water should be
kept from it.
Ho ho! The wooden spoon!
What a lovely twist or joke or divinity!
In the soup pot, the wood is a tree again
and finds its water,
and its little bit
from the garlic and ginger.
O the wooden spoon is a tree again
who can keep from crying.