Reading Outside

Four Os on the brick wall
inside the silver name
COTTONWOOD HALL
are the mouths of my heart
blowing proud hookah rings.
One follows the other toward you.

The core of each throat-made name: ah.
Say it.

A rosebush still clings
to four winter-burnt leaves,
an old season when people
passed blooms unseeing.
We are no burnt leaves
or dead retina citizens.

Long past that Saturn dance.
Our ruined masks.

Past scattered
twigs thrown off like runes
by longwinded, hardworking winters
through which two cottonwoods
held up weak afternoons
each February forgetting Imbolc.

Today, a perch of Tintoretto light.
No savior saint falling out of sky.

Their woody fingertips glow cone bright,
throw shadows toward me like
a Rorschach blot, wet,
just unfolded, branches mirroring
a thick-trunked calligraphy of roots
spelling joy in all your tongues.

I have but one. Almost two.
Tied up in pas de deux.

Remote white stacks
of the great sugar factory
puff out the hope of beets,
the history of everything sweet.
The faded church sign
across the street says nothing.

There I graffiti joy’s new name.
Who can read it?

2013

One Response to “Reading Outside”

  1. eduardo says:

    You had me at, “blowing proud hookah rings.”

    I’m quieted by the depth and layers of this particular poem. Behold: the alchemist at work.

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