Orange-and-midnight the moth on the fringe tree -
first it nags a bloom; sips and chews; then shakes
the big flower. Then its wings slow. Grows
satiate, as in sex. Then still, as the good sleep after.
Each bloom a white torch more than a tree’s flower.
Each is one of ten or twelve, conic, one of many
made of many green-white or white petals
held out, as by a hand, from the reach of the limb.
A field this morning was full of white moths. More
in the side yard, in the bluebottle, lifting – fog
off the dew, white wings like paper over flames
and floating awry or pieces of petal torn off.
Weeks now my words on paper have burned.
Burned and flown, like a soul on fire, with
nothing to show but ash, and the ash flies too.
Today, in the news – so many martyrs –
an “unnamed suicide bomber” took herself into
the arms of flame, and five others, “by her own hand.”
Whitman means the beauty of the mind is terror.
Do you think I could walk pleasantly and
well-suited toward annihilation?
But there is no likeness beyond her body
in flames, for its moment, no mater its moment.
Yet the fringe bloom burns. Yet the moth shakes
and chews, as in sex. When the young maple
grown covered with seeds, they are a thousand
green wings, like chain upon chain of keys,
each with its tiny spark, trying the black lock.
A tumbler turns and clicks. The world once more
fills with fire, and the body, like ash, is ash.
The Truth about Small Towns
It never stops raining. The water tower’s tarnished
as cutlery left damp in the widower’s hutch.
If you walk slow (but don’t stop), you’re not from nearby.
All you can eat for a buck at the diner is
cream gravy on sourdough, blood sausage, and coffee.
Never lie. The preacher before this one dropped bombs
in the war and walked with a limp at parade time.
Until it burned, the old depot was a disco.
A café. A card shoppe. A parts place for combines.
Randy + Rhonda shows up each spring on the bridge.
If you walk fast you did it. Nothing’s more lonesome
than money. (Who says shoppe?) It never rains.
A golden rainfall
there is no rain
and it blushing side-
long and windless
three sugar maples
turning their leaves
out in a shower
of sun and the dew
that all this night
settled heavy there
blazing off so quickly
the lightening leaves
quiver like mirrors
over the miniature
crab apple its
the birds don’t touch
and late season
green tomatoes shining
in a hoar of frost-
what have we done
with this chance this day
but turn our backs as
leaves turn to light
over two blue chairs we
painted years ago, nails
working out of those
what we have done
but slept through it-