You couples lying
where moon-scythes and day-scythes reaped you,
browning fruit falls and sleeps
in tangled nests, the wild grass,
falls from your apple tree that still grows here:
cry for your dead hero, his weak sword, his flight,
that you were slaughtered and your bed poured whiteness,
the issue of murdered marriage dawns.
The streets crack, a house falls open to the air,
sun and rain lie on the bed.
And the river still runs in a child’s hands
under the factory’s black hulk,
four stacks that used to bloom with smoke
over shining leaves, beneath thunderheads.
Then the storm
shatters and beats and after
a scented smoke of light,
a dripping quiet, and the small gold snake
sparkles at the pond’s edge.
But who is he? What were
the goods he made, what became of his loved wife,
his children, and where
has he gone, fearsome, powerless? The silver
path of air from the river’s bend to its rippling away
beneath the low concrete bridge
is still pure. No one comes, and the child
who watched by it has vanished.
Or sometimes he appears for a day, a night,
in the walls and windows reflected on the water,
in goldfinches’ flight, cricket song, the heron’s great
rise from the bank. Last a carp leaps,
voices and a lantern slide down the secret stream
in black and gold peace,
past the child’s husk, the family never born.