Like being summoned I hurry to the window
and in the one tree, so close
it almost touches the glass – the bird,
dove-grey in early light, its little mouth
turning the air with a five-boned tongue,
into a song. And as it sings, along the street
to right and left, the windows gleam and quiver,
and the roofs of the parked cars reflect
its shivery brilliance. Under my feet
the parquet vibrates, and the whole house
moves as the nameless bird returns to earth
what keeps getting lost, a particular thing
to belong to: song, very old and invisible,
which brings to mind every morning, a reminder
of something small but expressible.
The January light was more
notable, the day I went back
for his belongings to the room
where he died; magnolia buds
presented themselves differently,
they uplifted as though nothing
could compel death to reach inside
their grey skin. His climbing boots, paired
neatly as we had never been,
and his torn denims left on the
chair back to be disposed of.
When I unhooked the keys from his
belt, it was not stealing – nothing
could unlock what he still owed.
He didn’t even wait the man
I drove to reach but died alone
under a yellow counterpane.
End of day, end of year – and she’s thinking what’s next,
her head against the pane and the wind slamming the gate.
When she looks up, the trees are moving through the half light
towards her, through snow piled over the vanished road.
Not a single thought holds her back.
All the meanings held by the trees she remembers,
and how their barks can be unrolled and written upon.
No ordinary wood moves like this, and time is short.
Through the holly tunnels she sings a low song to the owl
and the night leans down, savouring her wintry breath.
What will I take from this? she thinks, looking back
as the moon hurries her along. To believe just once
that such a place exists, the imaginary heart
where everything worth moving towards lies.
we’re together round a small screen
like I remember when you were young
round the hearth but there’s no flame
and the doctor is pointing with a red pen
at a cavity between your lungs talking
about lymphocytes which have formed
like a new territory a whereabouts
we’re heading towards and this breath
this every-day in and out is sucked
with a gasp the force of a fist
inside my chest and I am aghast
how my breath I hardly notice now breathes