i have never seen snow

fall like this

it hangs in the air

suspended

i wonder if it is enjoying

the gentle descent

downward

the earth says

wait
i am not yet ready for you

the snow continues

and says

i am not here
for you

a crow calls out in the early morning
i rise and let the cat inside
the air is frigid
he enters and tells me everything
pacing about
gently bumping his head
against my leg
i boil water
and prepare my tea
then sit on the couch
cradling the hot mug in my hands
the cat rests against me
purrs softly
then louder as he warms
i leave the lights off
it is midmorning
yet no sun reaches beyond the clouds
leaving the room dim
with soft outlines of everything
i feel a tingling of uncertainty
so many questions rise to the surface
of my mind
i close my eyes
and return to august
remembering the humidity
that hung heavy and finally broke
when a rainstorm passed
we sat in it
letting the rain cool us
we were looking at one another
still unsure
still timid
our minds running wild
craving everything
everything
that time passed too quickly
like the humidity that broke
when the rainstorm
rolled in without warning
now the air is frigid
the light dim
with soft shadows everywhere
and i am here
cradling a cup of now tepid tea
and an image of us in the rain
wanting desperately to act
on every desire

day hadn’t yet arrived.
the stars, still brilliant, 
shine in full force,
burn as if lost in the night,
ever convinced by eternity. 
and what is it, “eternity”?
are we all lost in it, in forever?
had i been told it was night i might have been fooled.
had i not known,
not understood as i assume i understand. 
what is day?
what is arriving?
in the early dawn dreams pull,
they tug,
inviting me back.
i feel so small.
in pre-dawn light a cloud form emerges.
seamless.
i watch to understand the notion of fleeting,
the notion of ephemerality. 
what is eternity?
watching reflections,
watching beings,
mostly silhouettes, 
watching for hints of life,
of desire once removed.
waiting for consciousness –
to consume intention –
to devour “i will”
i will 
as in i will not—
i will not disappear into reflections less real than the reflected. 
early sun bathes all in gold;
the shadows that entice in darkness
vanish when touched by sun.
what is forever?
a span of measured time;
measuring the shift from hunger to fullness –
fullness to hunger to fullness. 
nights of satiated lust;
mornings eyes red from battling sleep.
pushing needs aside to feed the other spit and body.
measured time from erection,
endlessly possible,
to none —
to impossible none. 
i am convinced by eternity. 
the clouds are now clouds,
shapes are revealed.
i can see what is holding life.
holding. 
life.
the sky a blue i swear i’ve not known. 
i say aloud; “i have not understood this.”
clouds just breaths of pink;
strips of flesh
suspended and disappearing. 
i yell into the morning; “i have misunderstood eternity!”
and this is forever. 

we eat
butter and marmalade
on toast
fresh from the oven.
i was told
heaven
is a destination
for the faithful,
but i lack faith
and always wondered
about those who believe
in the unseen.
if it isn’t here
and now,
if it isn’t fresh toast
and your attention given
to spreading butter
and marmalade
so perfectly,
i’m not sure where else
it could be.
i have faith in this,
i can reach out
and touch it.
if heaven is this place,
right here and now,
and is as finite
as one piece of
toast,
i’ll take it
and consume it,
salty butter
and sweet marmalade
and all.

you peel away
the layers of an onion
the dried skin
flaking to
the ground
separating the folds
down to the off-white flesh
to the heart of it
watching you in exploration
as you uncover
each brittle layer
to watch you open
to watch you reveal

the winter solstice
is still days away
it gets dark so early
this time of year
i light the wood stove
before dusk
summer teases us
days stretch
on and on
and we fall asleep to
crickets and humidity
now the nights are long
they are full of
animal urges
and cravings
i imagine us
two naked bodies
intertwined on the floor
giving way to our
primordial needs
our flesh
illuminated only by the
flickering flame of the
wood stove

the reflection of the sky
in a pool on a barren
field.
is it possible to hold both?
the sun sets in one
and seems to rise
in the other.
this is perspective;
choosing to
turn murky water
into a looking glass,
a portal.

the morning is cold
my breath leaves my body
in small clouds
the cardinal is already
at the feeder
i can see his vibrant red body
against the soft light
of the morning
he is collecting food
for his lover
i read that they pair for life
two cardinals joining together
and remaining so
the male
his sharp red
standing out to distract the world
it is not pride
it is his protective instinct
as the sun moves
i can see her
her brown body
tucked away in the conifers
those we planted some years ago
a mated pair will sing together
i can imagine their songs
gentle
soft whispers
songs not for the world
but for each other
i am jealous
i watch as he darts back and forth
returning again and again
to the feeder
it is strange
i think
to be jealous of a bird
the sun spills into the world
the day is full
life picks up where it left off
resuming yesterday
i want to sing for someone
i want to rise early
and let my breath not escape
into emptiness
but fall gently upon the body of my lover
let it settle in soft song
in whispers just for us

For Susan
May 10, 1951 – September 7, 2015

there is silence now.
i walk the fields,
damp with rain and dew,
to the orchard.
and there
i pace amongst the rows
of apple and pear trees
i went there to be with the stillness.
a stillness that i attempted
to evade.
in the stillness
i am with your passing.
i can now
be with it, hold it
as one does something fragile and sacred
the stillness is palpable.
the days have slowed,
a shift in nature is present.
and it forces me to sit with that
which causes discomfort.
there is barely a breeze.
it tugs, pushes and then rests.
overheard, geese in a perfectly formed v
migrate.
i came to the stillness to hold
your passing.
you, harpist.
you, free improviser.
you, radical.
you, friend.
you, second mother.
you, nurturer.
you, gift giver.
between the rows
i stand motionless.
now and then a pear falls.
its release sends a branch
into motion;
upward and buoyant.
like a conductor’s baton
calling us back
to time, to the moment.
and then, the fruit,
maybe perfect
maybe rotten
… maybe,
… maybe.
hits the ground
with a thud,
unique
personal
perfect.
i left the known
to sit with your illness.
the knowledge of your great
rest that was coming.
with your passing
i take the gift you gave me.
a gift of delving inward.
into the raw
and divine.
a gift of awareness,
of moments and moments
strung together.
like pears hitting
the damp earth.
like a gentle gust
through rain laden leaves.
like a flock of geese
calling out to each other on
their ancient migratory route.
each moment unique.
each occurrence holding a moment
in a moment.
each one not fully adding up
the sum having nothing to do with the parts.
the parts, life in motion,
life awake,
as you rest.