It was the year Peter O’Toole died,
but that wasn’t the worst of it.
Everything scared me,
yet I was brave.
My house demanded
I take a vow of silence.
I dreamed of a man on a bus
who said I would never survive.
One rock in our yard was perpetually moist
in spite of the terrible drought.
I could always see through you,
but I would not look.
The red tree died.
The blue tree died.
Poems that once made me happy
made me happy no more.
When I closed my eyes
I could still see billows of lava.
Worse, though, were the drunks confessing
their drunkenness to the wind.
And worst of all my elegiac swan
transgressing my veins like a white drug in autumn.
did you buy me raspberries?
i did not ask, but i did covet.
i have lost something important, but it is somewhere in my house.
while looking for it, i’ve found other important things.
a great deal of clear liquid
turning slowly to ice.
what i cannot locate is that photograph of you
taken while you were on the stage.
what i have found are other photographs,
some in black and white,
and some in frames. i have taken these
and thrown them against the wind
the easier to find their meaning.
in no case has a photograph returned.
the vole in the pantry saved
our marriage. he saw something in you
i’d lost sight of, still sometimes
cannot see. i knew i could never take him away
to live elsewhere.
my brother says he has 82 hands and 57 feet
that create their own story line. i tell him i dream
of the house in ramsey, the house in ridgewood, and still,
every now and then, the house on the river
that he never saw, which the mudman and i almost rented
before learning about the annual floods.
at flakeman’s house in the cup-and-saucer state
i was turned away – or, not precisely, but i did have to wait
to knock on the door until the duchess was away.
then i was invited in
to wander with him the rose-knotted yard
brilliantly tiled in stillness and hung with vines.
who will advise
about the glut of sand in leeks? who knows how hard
a person can sleep? i’m in the black lodge
with dale cooper.
no one can take our souls.
what is that sound
if not the trance of snow shifting?
last night there were five sharp knocks in the middle of the clock.
at what hour?
knocks on wood or metal?
waking me up, but i knew there were five.
and i could not explain them.
someone, while discussing her appointment, said, “can’t stumble well, and now
can’t stumble even at all. i’m through.”
i said, “be careful. try not to break
the lightbulb in your pocket.”
i am concerned about
the astronaut love triangle.
a moth has fallen
into the dish of oil
i put out for the bread, and floats
among the spices
like a miniature sailboat upset
by miniature weather.
strange talk of you and what you said.
it’s just a twist of the peach.
there are some things you will just never see anyway
like snow on spiderwebs.
but the floaters, and the latent scary other flaws – no. i don’t find them.
i slop myself to sleep with the mantra “don’t worry. everything’s fine.”
and tell myself later, when the mantra’s not working, “just don’t look
where you’ll see it.”
i love my house but i long for a moat.
are or were for sale on ebay. sarira. subtle bodies.
and in the film are designated as such clear signs. the searching monk says
they do not belong
to the “quite fatty-fatty” child
because his father’s name does not begin with “a.”
he says “give me your hand” and
“do you recognize this rosary? this bell?”
and the child does. the correct child.
some of the villagers
had never traveled on or even seen an airplane
but the child was not afraid, and the young monk said
that in his (the child’s)
he placed a wilted flower behind the young monk’s ear
when he was sleeping. wikipedia tells us
the appearance of these artifacts
will have a tendency to be noticed by those who are looking for them,
so i go and check the only ashes of a living being
i have in this house.
but find no pearls.
Diane Wald’s latest book is Wonderbender, from 1913 Press. Previous books include The Yellow Hotel and Lucid Suitcase.