The dogwood leaves, suspended in the rain.
Clumps of drooping flesh-tones - treeflesh
(muted green, vermilion, purple, rust).
I'm whispering toward you again.
In the silence of his study, Lazarus
Posthumous leans close to the windowpane.
The glass harbors a cool gray sheen
from autumn sky (a harbor's emptiness).
His body is the dogwood's double. And
the window only grows more destitute as
winter draws nigh - cold, dark. It is
the entrance to a tunnel. Its command
a stark inscription : Here Descend.
The last bumblebee totters unevenly
through backyard jungle grass.
The little garden is a tangled mess
of dried-up stalks, vines, leaves
where sodden rags of an absent-minded
hurricane (the last of the cloud outriders)
spit their loads again, soaking the weirs
to the flood-brim. The storm never intended
to hurt anyone - the storm never intended
anything at all. And now the bumblebee
has vanished into his green and tiny
Amazon. Only starlings chortle overhead,
settling in crappy treetops, ratcheting
their raspy, cackling complaints, then
moving on. The homesteaders gone too -
summer's yodelers, warblers, who sing
themselves a cozy territory (comfortable,
responsive, mild). Lazarus faces cold.
The mellow season's growing old
and gray. Wind coils through the stubble.
The rainsoaked ground, the windswept sky, heaven
and earth exact their retributions. The grass
withers with a whisper across vast prairies
of catastrophe. Yet what has not begun
is yet to begin - even tonight, maybe.
The gift for which you did not dare to ask,
the phone call in the night (from Alaska,
say - Saskatchewan), the whorl of a stormy-
tender fingerprint. The human trace
a network penetrating to the roots
of time, space... where love waits
in a threadbare lair (for your embrace).
There once was a man, whose bones
were never found, collected in a lead-
lined box, a box that was lost when the dead
man's grave was exhumed : Blackstone,
William Blackstone. Whose bones in a box
were dug up for a shopping center
(the first American shopping center)
and lost somewhere (bones among rocks).
And Lazarus Posthumous found them;
found them in the dead of winter, in a cave,
in a mirror, in his mind. When you have
a lead box full of whitened bones, Sachem -
a whited sepulchre, O Chief - you have
November coming in a costly casket,
autumn encapsulated, life's biscuit
in a basket - ocean in a wave (goodby).
More drafty drafts. I hope it lasts.