Dear May Eighth

Why was the last kiss May seventh
And so shy?

Your tongue was skittish.

Your clavicle—
Door- bolt, little key,
Was the world’s cross-tree—
Your collar bone was hot snow to touch.

I wanted to say commitment.
And so I was committed,
And so I did commit
Crimes against the immaculate.

I wanted to say decision.
And so I was decisive,
And so I did decide.

I was lost to my freedom,
Fell into stars.

Clavicle, clavichord,
Gold keys falling through me cold.

I wanted to be confused
In your heart
With landscape, solitude,
With alpine kisses.

I wanted to show you, remaining
Sequestered in themselves.
Awe of glacial kisses,
Wild, high altitude confusions of them.

You explain
The sky I spent my life under.
Why I‘m eye-level
With snow-line,
Town a thousand feet down.

You explain
The bottom of the ocean
That packed up and left

You say it’s the basin that makes the sky a bay.

So this is the eighth of May-
Kisses plus one,
Or minus one, I guess.

The sunset plans its palette, its deployment.

It hasn’t decided the denouement—
It’s breathless…

Listen, Nobody’s Business,
Why aren’t you in love with me?

Is your overture over-subtle
Like this sunset—
White clavicle under gray thunderheads.
Cobalt throbs?

Streaky northern billows
And reds thrum into music—clavichord.

Red cliff below purples
Above peaks’ azure.

Then—get this—
Red cliff
Is palindromed,
Butterflied, flayed.
In strata of lenticulars.

Rain rains down
Blue-black on earth
And sends riders, striders,
Bruisy yellow,
Blood in a stream,
Back to the eastern horizon—
Where I kissed you.

If you would wake with me
I’d know how to die.

Yours, May eighth.
Man under influence of sky.


You can find this poem and many others in Earthly Love.