Catch a swallow breaking past a window
and you have for your own piece of somewhere else,
snow dauntless on rooftops or a split of headlights
turning a country road. You’ll never hear
the northern lights singing their way home.
Better this group effect
of limbs warmed
on a glowing carpet,
our bodies our star-song.
The scarlet hollow of your neck is one place
where we can lose whatever we’ve won, our maladjustment
as carefully disordered as these objects—
burning log and lamp, old shoes, brass unicorn,
jacket and watchcap sagging on a chair.
Here before the fire you taste for a moment
the gritty water of death among all things.
Who will stay and listen
for rain in April? or study
fingers splayed on a cushion?
You owe me nothing
but a certain resilience.
A calf slipping on loose gravel
or hummingbird pausing the air
are images of what you mean to me,
not of what you say you are.
Nowhere is your only
useful cunning background.
I still hear my words
wanting to become you.