The nights midweek are secrets kept.
No soul on site, no signal/bars,
and zilch for company except
a zillion bright disarming stars.
I’ll flit through ambers, quicker, higher.
I’ll break each hamlet’s stop or yield.
I’ll fix some noodles, start a fire
and climb up to the topmost field.
The stars at first are sparse, unclear.
They surface in that drag between
the darkened grass and stratosphere,
of powder blue and bottle green.
They blossom, thick and fast, in droves.
They pulse, in clusters, magnify.
The smoke that’s my potbelly stove’s
frays outwards through each needle eye.
I’ll head below. I’ll char till dawn
some apple logs down to their core.
By pewter light when stars have gone,
I’ll do a bit, a little more.
You live inside its sound effects
whole weeks on end: its pin machine,
its cardboard drum, its soft-boiled eggs,
its silent running submarine.
It’s like the god of liquid rub-
ber stirred at dawn to slip downstairs
and sip a cigarette, to drub
his fingertips on solid layers
you poured across last summer’s drought.
You love it, learn to, as it slows,
and even as you come to doubt
its dribs and drabs and pigeon toes.
Forget the welcome rain outstayed.
For days the leaves are parchment sheet
and wind hangs chimeless in the shade.
Still rain remains the point of heat.
The rain is near. Like everything,
it’s best those seconds just before:
the broadleaf ’s backwards canvas sling,
the fly strip flapping through the door.
The wind’s this ancient bloke below
who chunters “we,” who wheezes “us,”
though no one else will come or go.
You want to ask the wind “Who’s us?”
but hold your tongue till, in your head,
the wind and him have somehow mixed,
the type of wind that loves a shed
and banging on of things not fixed:
a belt-and-braces year-round wind,
a kiln-dried cobwebbed hardwood wind,
a greenhouse wind, a treebound wind,
an end-of-season car-boot wind,
a padlocked shower unit wind,
an upturned wheelie dumpster wind,
a channel not quite tuned-in wind,
a hollow flight-path thunder wind,
a dog-eared wind, a knocked-sign wind,
a spouseless phantom ocean-blown
autumnal graveyard Scots pine wind
who speaks in plurals, moves alone.
One night last June, in cups, in love
with pickled gin from bubbly flutes,
our clothes in coils about the stove,
we climbed the dark in birthday suits.
It’s true! The grass was mown that day.
Like hippies chained in meadow flowers,
we tripped above the cut and lay
in blades of petrol suede for hours.
We listened to the lowing black.
We giggled, kissed. We possumed dead.
We woke as flesh and straggled back
like beasts for parlor, dressed, then read.
We trafficked grass in bedspreads, shoes,
and never spoke of that again
through winter’s interregnum blues,
of being spooked by skin, of when
the only care we had was grass,
the only stir for miles around
our freezing bones, our clinking glass,
our dying to be rumbled, found.