Over the phone my dad described to me
how the skull felt
after his wife’s dog
got hit by the car.
He needed to tell someone.
Of what real use is consolation?
The microwave was beeping;
my soup was done.
He said they scrubbed the concrete clean
but you could still see the blood,
faint & orange.
The bowl was still too hot
He said he could feel pieces
floating under the skin.
I folded a napkin up to hold the bowl,
walked slowly to the table.
From faraway it would seem
I was holding something valuable.
It died before they got to the vet.
Now they have a new dog named Denny.
He is the same kind.
My throat narrowed when
I shouted down the corridor.
I sounded like a tied up animal.
I wasn’t embarrassed anymore.
My hands looked like crooked
doors, my feet walked on
last year’s violets; there was no
room behind my hands. Still, I
looked for the blue walls. Later,
a moth fell from
my body in the shower,
its small mouth closed.
It had no parables for me.
I brushed it toward the drain
with my foot.
There’s no church behind my hands.
for David Ferry
Here, hands seen through glass seem sculpted,
waving goodbye. The hands are on the outside
of the window. The glass is hard to see through,
old and softened as sea-glass. In some seasons
the yellow leaves come & splatter the window.
The hands hold their own shadows when they curl up.
When they hold the hands of another there is a shadow
between them that doesn’t go away. The hands keep waving
robotically goodbye. Before the earth goes
blank, let’s be honest with ourselves for once.