poem ex nihilo

we burn
as the sun sets.

i am watching smoke curl,
feeding sticks into the flames
one by one by one, searching
the shapes of autumn’s shadow

for a metaphor fragile
enough to carry trust
in its silky, river-
fed palms;

for the words to drip
down your open-mouthed
throat like a benediction
and swallow naked, like a sword;

for the way silent twilight
fills the negative space
and becomes a poem
ex nihilo.

love by the river in springtime is a perilous thing

the sky is bruised
with purpled patches,
gauze of white cotton
cloud strewn unsteadily
across the southern horizon.

many have come
with their beach chairs
and their expensive long lenses
to watch the herons
chase each other round

the naked winter nests
in the farthest branches.
i watch them watching
from the pipe bridge over
pregnant waters, the little islands

sunk beneath the brown and the rushing,
tree roots emerging from the current like
strange seabirds that reach
for the sky. from the squawk
on the other side of the river,

i know the herons aren’t
in the trees. they’ve found higher
ground among the shallows and
play their love games, as we do,
amid the rocks and the shadow.

epitaph for the soulless

there are

wide-eyed whiskey
truths that trace
velocities, backward. this

was never about you,
the unfrozen intensity
of a moment stretched

into a night, a pair
of nights, sub-
aqueous drownings

in a river that knows too
many mornings,
inconstancy of under-

current winter
horizons & jagged
edges below the smooth

dark of summer waters;; an
itch inside my skin i
bury deeper with each

rasping handful of you
and that the sunlight won’t re-
wind; this,

this was never about you ex-
cept that it is.