Poems from "Tricks of Light"

little lives

late August mornings
bees sleep in on the sunflowers
until their bodies are warm

and ready to move
    every day    it takes
a little longer

my husband says    come
touch them    they have their own
small way of breathing   

    yesterday we watched
a caterpillar on a stem    it had
a smooth copper head    glinting eyes

all around in the stillness    yellow
grasshoppers    vaulted through the air
you could hear them land

on brittle brown leaves
you could almost hear the spiders
spinning    spinning

the world itself
forgiving    our trespass 


Plate 354   Swainson’s Hawk

Unsolicited and deft,
he comes
like certain diagnosis—

a shadow tha
will rearrange

we know—
and don’t—
about light. 





Like This

It might have been like this: a rampant swath
of fire—or like a heron's rise, that blue
and slow desire. The way a thought will sift
through time. A flower's life: a language you
have learned and left behind. Or this: a kiss.
Whatever was lives on somewhere. Sometimes
her name will slip into my sleep—like this:
the shiver of a bird before it flies,
the faintest musk of plum leaves on the skin—
and bring with it the only day I touched
her hair. Like this: an angel’s wing. But in
what world was that?  Too soon the heart adjusts
like some dark bird who cannot trust the light
whose wing-tucked song forever haunts the night.