Resisting the Intelligence
Resting on the edge of the moon
where it grazes the staggered tree line
I lean into the flavours and drift.
Your room in Paris also overlooks
odours and tastes of varied moods,
but the dead fish haunting the Seine
sours many famous properties
worth millions of Euros. You love
this clash of decay and fashion,
in which the city skyline cringes
the way my New England tree line
does, folding into itself
at the first wrinkle of dawn.
So much has yawned itself foolish—
the years we wasted face to face,
the books the library discarded,
the loot from the last Brink’s robbery.
Remember the man in the pub
in Forest Hills, who blathered
about that famous crime a week
before it happened? He was the stiff
the cops found locked in a car
behind our Beacon Street apartment.
The moon is barely round enough
to hold my weight. The tree line hurts
by abrading my delicate eyes.
I’d rather be looking at the seam
where your body meets your spirit,
a sea-coloured horizon misty
with summer heat. But the autumn
has its way. The ghost of that man
still loiters in the alley, cadging
pennies from anyone who passes.
Paris also features certain ghosts
from the Occupation era
when the blackout prevailed. Soon
it will return, sealing us both
in that gray unlimited vacuum
where we may consort as we please—
the fish-smell dispersing
as we rest our elbows on the moon
in a comforting lack of air.
Your Autumn Dance
This flu shot stings more deeply
than last year’s did. The needle
scratches the interior landscape
in which you display your graces
with diaphanous gestures broad
enough to include forest and lakes
and whole cities glowing at dusk.
The pain alerts me to erosion
that exposes bedrock studded
with quartz and tourmaline crystals
and slabbed with mica sandwiches.
With roots undermined, spruce and pine
topple into gullies. Great cities
find sewage and water pipes broken
in a soup of sullen infections.
You dance across this disaster,
fluttering like the one Luna moth
I saw this summer. The nurse withdraws
the needle, pops it into a box
of disposable sharps. She’s pregnant
with her first child, leaning forward
into the long slope of motherhood.
Your child, grown and with a daughter,
occupies a landscape much like yours
and mine, but still uneroded, fresh
with clear mountain brooks tinkling
down to villages where sheep and ducks
crowd narrow lanes and horse-drawn
wagons deliver bottled milk.
You read this landscape into her
at an early age. Mine suffered
post-agrarian blues from the start,
so when you began to inhabit
the misty lowlands the general mood
of the unseen populace brightened.
The prick of the needle reminds me
how fragile this landscape has become,
requiring earnest conservation
and the replanting of large tracts
with paths reserved for your passage
and wood chips to cushion your step.