The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
(My student, thrown by a horse)
I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.
His fingers make a hat about his head.
The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,
My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up through the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
I saw a young snake glide
Out of the mottled shade
And hang, limp on a stone:
A thin mouth, and a tongue