Feet that could be clawed but are not ...
Arms that might have flown but did not ...
No one said 'Let there be angels!' but the birds
'I think I'm going to have it,'
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
They give you a desk with a lid, mother.
They let you keep your book.
My desk is next to the window.
They were to have been a love gift,
but when she slit the paper funnel,
they both saw they were fake; false flowers
he'd picked in haste from the store's display,
Which represents you, as my bones do, waits,
all pores open, for the stun of snow. Which will come,
as it always does, between breaths, between nights
Teach-cheap, teach-cheap, teach-cheap, teach-cheap—
Sparrows are plying their chisels in the summer ivy,
Chipping the seconds spark by spark out of the hours.
I read in each whistling chip the sun's holography.
Wars in peacetime don't behave like wars.
So loving they are.
Kissed on both cheeks, silk-lined ambassadors
Pose and confer.
'You have to inhabit poetry
if you want to make it.'
And what's to inhabit?
Whenever my father was left with nothing to do —
waiting for someone to 'get ready',
or facing the gap between graduate seminars
and dull after-suppers in his study
Falling to sleep last night in a deep crevasse
between one rough dream and another, I seemed,
still awake, to be stranded on a stony path,
and there the familiar enigma presented itself