This city is a French
horn in distress,
Calvin chasing hens
and the pages of the hymnal blank
like a furious whoosh,
a stomach pain, the pitch of sin.
Every wall is an eye,
every eye is a wall.
I have only myself tonight
in a language inside a language
about the white sky falling
and the black earth.
And when I run out of things
to say, what do I say?
And when the thrush sings
in the know-it-all woods,
isn’t there a slippage
from language to departure?
A Poem for the Epiphany
Ach, wie anders, wie schön
Lebt der Himmel, lebt die Erde
It snows because the door to heaven is open,
because God is tired of working
and the day needs to be left alone.
It snows because there is a widow hiding
under her mother’s bed,
because the birds are resting their throats
and three wise men are offering gifts.
Because the clouds are singing
and trees have a right to exist,
because the horses of the past are returning.
They are grey and trot gently into the barn
never touching the ground.
It snows because the wind wants
to be water, because water
wants to be powder and powder wants
to seduce the eye. Because once in his life
the philosopher has to admit
to the poverty of thought.
Because the rich man cannot buy snow
and the poor man has to wear it on his eyebrows.
Because it makes the old dog think
his life has just begun. He runs
back and forth across the parking lot.
He rolls on the snow. He laps it up.
It snows because light and dark
are making love in a field where old age
has no meaning, where colors blur,
silence covers sound, sleep covers sorrow,
everything is death, everything is joy.
(for Ellen Jacko)