for R

To impress I brandish speculations concerning all these passing things:
barges and disease and Goodwill
trucks. I try all things;
I achieve what I can. You try to scan the lines

of my face. I lie when you ask me to paint
your portrait when I say I can’t paint portraits.
I can’t paint your image, it’s the image every portrait
mourns. It’s the art we still dream once was.

R, I have never named you here. It’s coma of the year, 3 am, you’re asleep
but talking all the time to keep yourself awake. We between
two rooms, between a fear you confuse as you undo it

every night. A better morning is the promise you’ve kept, keep.
In return: wind through the tree of what I mean
sends an apple through the dark to you.