How separate we are
under our black umbrellas—dark
planets in our own small orbits,
hiding from this wet assault
of weather as if water
would violate the skin,
as if these raised silk canopies
could protect us
from whatever is coming next—
December with its white
enamel surfaces; the numbing
silences of winter.
From above we must look
like a family of bats—
ribbed wings spread
against the rain,
swooping towards any
The moon that broke on the fencepost will not hold.
Desire will not hold. Memory will not hold.
The house you grew up in; its eaves; its attic will not hold.
The still lives and the Botticellis will not hold.
The white peaches in the bowl will not hold.
Something is always about to happen.
You get married, you change your name,
and the sun you wore like a scarf on your wrist has vanished.
It is an art, this ever more escaping grasp of things;
imperatives will not still it – no stay or wait or keep
to seize the disappeared and hold it clear, like pain.
So tell the car idling in the street to go on;
tell the skirmish of chesspieces to go on;
tell the scraps of paper, the lines to go on.
It is winter: that means the blossoms are gone,
that means the days are getting shorter.
And the dark water flows endlessly on.