River. Riverline of moon.
Along the bank‚ crows dragging their wings‚
a black seam.
You curve inward‚ miles from any land-bridge‚
aurulent hunger for some other
amassed. Proof of quiet‚ in aria.
The stillways come to you‚
sable-blued in the burnishing dark.
Nine fish below the surface‚ phosphorescent.
Nine important stars.
Night in its full summitry‚ as if I’d been waiting
for years. The small of my back
hollowing to slope under the dress.
I came here to be opened‚
the way a telescope‚ wavering‚ discovers then dwells.
Nine winds lifting up from the slow current.
Nine rumors of load-bearing sleep.
What can you shed of yourself‚
keeping store against the runnels of time.
November’s black sky scored with dust‚ ice‚
though it has not yet snowed.
Is this a response to the dark
that can hold. Above the floodplains of sleep‚
a few trees crowd with moon-lanterns.
Are the thoughts running through my body
They see and shine by night.
Nox‚ place of peace. Could I lean any further
into your silk-folding surfaces‚ drawn out
to no place I know. Am I a factor
in your nightly spindrift‚ the cold nets of fire
that‚ vanishing‚ pass through you.
Skeleton-sound of moving water‚ silt-awash.
Could I too grow luminous in tapering‚
apprentice myself to senescence‚
as if my body had always been
intended to be this blind shell.
Taste of smoke at the bay-mouth‚
where phosphor endlessly burns.
If there is rarity in me‚ signal the course.
Where my life‚ hollowed out by solitude‚
kept me from sleep‚ I scoured the reed-roots‚
the sanded eyes of the crows.
Under a dry moon I kept company
with augury‚ felt alert to threat.
These are seasons‚ not eternities‚
but to live here‚ thin water and candor‚
is to be stranded. Autumn‚ morning‚ dusk‚
I scoured the river‚ opal-alluvial.
I wanted to know and I wanted to ask.
If I am only hull to what happens‚
let me at least feel more deeply that flitting‚
the dead light of stars over my hands‚
into my throat. Oar of my body.
Such things as were sensed but not known.
This poem is part of BR’s special package celebrating National Poetry Month.