In the haze of cold April,
when the birds draw their necks deep
into their bodies on the electric wire
like a string of dead lights, when last year’s locust shells
are dried of their tissues and shift in the grasses of the riverbank,
rye and bluestem and reddened cordgrass, three floras braided,
then loosened, then snapping in the wind like a promise
given and taken back, it’s at this moment,
parked by the river, that ice blooms shattered asters
across the windshield like eyes pried open,
the clear glass a starved sheet of mind
with something finally written on it
by that anonymous finger.
But then it’s gone, and I know this is how it is for us:
We are told things but they melt away.
And when the words go, or when we know
instruction was never
there, a great absence comes like a sky
with all its living creatures huddled against the part of us
split open at the tip by weather
or desire, the garden we rake and rake again
until there’s nothing left but the waiting.
This is what we ask the dead god to rise into.
But it isn’t the right request, and he grows quieter
than the silence he already kept,
as when a man decides to leave a woman, decides this is
the only thing that can be done to save both.
In this way we are told it is over.