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Poems

In the Salt Marsh: Poems (2004)

Sky. Clouds. Apples

I shall become a disciple of clouds,
windblown like the brushed wings of waves,
or heaped, dome upon dome, in eccentric hives,
or pulled like scenery crossing an empty sky.
I have seen fish in the sky and a dog
that sank into a sheep pursuing a bird
at so majestic a pace they hung like a frieze
of carved smoke, shading the mountain's flank,
and once, as a child, a white ship so grand
I called my mother to see it,
and she opened the kitchen door and stood
on the threshold and scanned the evening light
as it opened a hole in the canopy of maples
on the empty berth at the darkening wharf of the sky.
On my first trip to the sky, when the plane
broke through the clouds I saw the ballrooms
of heaven with nobody in them, the floors swept clean
with brooms of light. No nomads so restless
as clouds. No saint so quick to surrender the self
over and over: love, and do what you will.
Wear me. I am already you.
Now storms are pruning the orchards.
The broken flesh of apples, scarred
or cut to the core, litter the green aisles.
This morning I saw clouds rise from the mowed field
where they camped all night under the mountain
and departed in sunlit coaches
turning away, into the clean sky.