I gave up the pencil, the walk in woods, the fog
at dawn, a keyhole I lost an eye to.
And the habit of early, of acorn into oak—
bent tangled choked because of ache or greed,
or lousy light deemed it so.
So what. Give up that so what.
O fellow addicts of the arch and the tragic, give up
the thousand-pound if and when too.
Give up whatever made the bed or unmade it.
Give up the know thing that shatters into other things
and takes the remember fork in the road.
The remember isn’t a road.
At noon, the fog has no memory of fog, the trees I walked
or wanted to. Like the pencil never recalls its least
little mark, the dash loved, the comma which can’t,
cannot dig down what its own brief nothing
means on the page. I don’t understand death either.
By afternoon, the brain is box, is breath let go, a kind of
mood music agog, half emptied by the usual
who am I, who are you, who’s anyone.
Truth is, I listen all night for morning, all day
for night in the trees draped like a sound I never quite
get how it goes. There’s a phantom self, nerved-up
as any arm or leg.
Of course I was. Of course I stared from the yard,
my mother at the window
rinsing knife and spoon and the middle of her life.
In drawing class, all eyes fix on the figure gone
imaginary, thinning to paper. Not the wind or a cry
how the hand makes, our bent to it—
pause and rush, rush and pause—
small animals heard only at dark, spooked in the leaves.