As if the guests are not expected quite
so early, but their knock is
welcome, mountain answers in an instant
with much light. Its door swings wide, igniting
temporary sidewalk made of sunset, and we turn to
see, proceed along a lane familiar to a favorite
spot we've never shared. The ghosts of both
our dogs are playing there, beside the sandy
rio - once, no longer, grande. Above Sandia's
startling open vault, and pinkest pathway to
mysterium, mists steam blue in violet
canyons. While we stare, I whisper
prayer, a sheheyanu, and hear poems: two
the one that starts with thank you and the other
that begins O World!
As if Elijah always takes his cue
to fill that empty chair, first snow
falls now. Through patterned air, flakes sift
down soft as spices, icing white
petunias and unshaking, still-summergreen
leaves. This night sky stuns, is hyacinth.
My snowball even strikes the treestump, and the
drifting times precisely to our walk: an exercise
in happiness and purpose. While your eaves and
trees rain slow, we scald our skins in wintergreen;
nestle to sleep. As if the angels cannot fail to save
us, morning comes lavish with chimes, fluff cats
and joyful geometries. Upon rose-coral ground
your hand shapes forever ecstatic, stretching
to catch storm of
blossoms. Like your face, which I have studied
in the dark as sculpture, your gorgeous
hands suggest El Greco, but today I see Patchen's:
pouring for Miriam this straw-colored tea
breathing in cups from Bavaria.
As if the birds could pierce the window-
glass, not break their necks against
it, headlamps shine unpainful
possibility: Our shadows speed to surpass us, and
vanish, while we ride unroofed in traffic's
glare. Moving, somehow we stall repeatedly in full
light. It is not as if old sorrows can be
blown away like paperdolls, but is
as if the bright emotions might be reattached like
limbs, the same blood flowing.
For H. F.
Copyright 1987, 2005 Katherine Anne Harris
I've been through too many women.
I'd as soon have stayed with the first one.
When he left me, I completely
I decided it was for the best, when
I found somebody else.
That didn't last, either.
I can't trust my judgment anymore;
I thought we were happy.
Eventually it all happened again.
I was never so desolate.
I didn't want to do anything.
Of course I've done a lot of leaving,
I don't mean to do that again.
Much as I say I want a permanent
if someone asked me now, I'd say no.
When I start to feel too much, I'm
careful to stop it.
I can't dare hear those words again.
No one to share things with; that's
the biggest emptiness.
I suppose I still wish, but frankly I
despair of it.