From THE VARIOUS REASONS OF LIGHT 
Softcover $12.95  ISBN 0-9661072-1-7

FOR BRIGIT IN ILLINOIS

Dear Brigit,
                      (Come back.) Here the quiet moon burns
like hayfire over the mountain; the lush rose,
wild as milkweed, burgeons in the dark on the roadside
where, in daylight, you saw yourself in the stark yellow eye
of the grackle. (I never really thought you’d leave.)
Now, your words, dusky as bird wings, rise; you

reckon the distance between our lives — I can hear you
thinking. (What I know is: the good sober will burns
in you like insatiable fire. You never lost it.) The leaves
in May (do you remember?) burst from their delirious twigs and rose
sharp as sawteeth in the generous sky. I
thought god had made his glorious point right there, outside

the body, in the visible heaven where the new green sighed
and the air shimmered like the coruscating pond. You
spoke of angels with bodies, the soul focusing its bright eye
on substance, the solace of a promised resurrection, the burning
need for the coming together again (I believed every word).  We rose
like spirits ourselves, two souls glad of understanding—the leaves

about us, above us like dreams. We thought: no one ever really leaves.
In this life we were wrong. In this life the issue of where you reside
matters (I miss you — the house finch, hungry and rose-
colored, takes his thistle like alms; he is humble and strong. You
would like that.) Now, all around me the bright tongue of god unfurls and burns
— you must see it in the plains: the gold light of morning, the violet dusk. I

trust we still share the vivid heavens; the idea of the mountains, I
leave that to recall: the way they rise beneath god’s feet, the way the leaves
that crown them catch the vast, explosive light, and burn
around and around the countless birds who live invisibly on the mountainsides.
(Nothing is the same. The landscape is too big without you.)
I imagine the flat land where you live: linear, predictable, innumerable placid rows,

inexhaustible greens, lush golds keen as the level eye of the grackle as he rose
and you saw yourself go with him. (We never understood the birds, their cold eyes
like small stones, or like glass. The ambivalent fires rage inside their hollow bones — you
must understand that now, the way I understand, or think I do, the taking leave
of a place you love and the way sorrow, its quiet shadow ebbing, one day subsides.)
Nothing is forever. (Come back. Tonight the night burns

in the thousand treetops and the fire leaps even from the pale rose, its leaves,
its fine, myriad thorns; it springs from the eyes of the dark sleeping birds, from the undersides
of their dark wings. You must close your eyes. Come home — we’ll watch the red finch burn.)


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