The cut trail elbows
Around my uncle's thresher—iron dance caller
Rusting into corn.
Behind the poplars, afternoon runs indigo
Into cream, cloud trails
Into flax, bleeds across a horizon of steel.
My cousin floats in wheat grass
As she wades to the river.
Soon, she will be distant, too far for calling.
The elm catches our voices, the sun retires
To shimmy the barn length.
Corn—wild, overgrown—begins its penny dance.
In Defense of the Semicolon
No semicolons. Semicolons indicate
relationships that only idiots need
defined by punctuation.
But it's a reassuring logic that rivers freeze
because your hemisphere has rolled away from the sun
that cities rest because there must be time for resting.
You could never deny this or disown your desire
for the certainty of home; for the mills and reservoirs
you could always return to. I'm thinking of a girl
clipping butterflies through her bangs, the first woman
with whom I spoke of marriage.
She was slight and strange and her brother lived
on another continent, but was dying there. Years
after our split, she and I met in an open-air restaurant
crowded with chatter and cigarettes. I was still very young
still afraid of being abandoned at the terminal.
She no longer ate; she had lost teeth and some hair,
she said, and there were pale islands of skin
where the butterflies had perched. Later she confessed
these were cut with scissors. The waiter refilled our coffee,
a phone was ringing, and fifty feet away streetcars
jostled like dusk nudging up against darkness;
even between those two there are gangways:
moveable bridges ship to shore, small therefores;
one thousand fine graduations of nightfall.
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