In Nepal, they are dead by the thousands,
yet at night, in the epic tragedy of our bed,
they are hardly spared a thought as we fight
for the happiness so long missed. I wanted
this to be an easy poem to write: all sweeping
sentiment and unfolded perspective, laundry
tossed on the couch and handily sorted.
I, after all, have no burials to plan, no body to bear.
Survival is too far a concept to be bought dear,
though, and I am left with this landslide
of vague loneliness, wishing only for you
to hold me, for a kindness, for a plane ticket
to Katmandu. There are all kinds of earthquakes,
love; some nearer home than others.
Some days it is harder to love you
than others. Easter is over and done,
blossoms of bright azalea and snow-
white dogwood popping out around corners
like promises, but there are still so many crosses.
Afternoon thunderstorms rinse away
pollencoats under slaten sunlight, and you
point to the sky. Rainbows have no place in poems,
I think, wondering if happy endings are things
of myth, what secrets you still keep
as we lay beat to beat at day’s dying. My arms,
aching and taxed, reach with hesitance
in the darkness. I sleep drugged, dreaming
of escape routes, of a heart not so leaden to bear.
I am dreaming again of riverafternoons
and your sunlit irides, floodlevel love
on time we borrowed until we stole.
Funny how the past you think of is never
the past that was; the present tenuous as rain
streamlit down the windows of my old place
by the river, all plateglass & whiskey;
my future self’s heart pinched between thumb
and dirt-traced forefinger, whirlpooled in muddy waters,
slipping over rocks. If I knew her now I would say
never mind the scars. There is peace even in the drowning;
the trains will sound their slow mourners’
wail over curves of forever, tonight’s tornado
warning only a siren on the horizon.