A few new poems

Appraising the Vase

 

It came here, she says, from Genoa,

late 18th century, the story goes, saved,

stolen, bought, no one now knows,

still flawless, without visible scars.

 

“My family has owned it for generations.”

I am asked to know it. I hold it firmly in

my hands, move my thumbs over

its smooth face, caressingly.

 

I care only for this: What was

its beauty, power, there, then;

what is its beauty, power, now, here;

what did it, does it, hope for, fear.

 

Only when I know all of this, there,

then, now, here, can I say for sure

if it still breathes, is gone, what

someone else must pay just to hold it.

 

 

 

waiting forever for nothing

is half the fun of it

 

the birds start up at first

hint of light

 

silence to cacophony

just like that

 

thumb-sized red tulips

stems just cut

 

float through the air

untethered

 

I lie quietly and listen

all day I will

 

lie quietly to anyone

who will listen

 

 

Two Dreams

 

I

 

The kiss is electric, lips

soft, slightly wet,

barely touching at first,

then moving over each other

carefully, until they know

mountains, valleys, streams,

each leaf, stem, flower.

We gasp, the exact

moment love arrives.

 

II

 

She reaches into the dark

for a hand, finds mine,

waiting. Our warm fingers

entwine for a second.

Then hers slip quickly out,

move toward another,

the one they meant to find.

We gasp, the exact

moment love leaves.

 

 

My Conversation with Li Po

on Marian’s Birthday

 

 

Li:

            Jing Yè Si

 

Chuáng quián ming yuè guang

 

Yi shi dishang shuang

 

Ju tou wang ming yuè

 

Ditou si quxiang

 

 

Me:

            Quiet Night

 

Bright moonlight:

tight, white disc

when I look up.

 

Look back down:

fingertip-tip soft light

on both my homes:

 

The one in front

shining at my feet

where I stand in now;

 

The one behind

I long for,

miss, remember.

 

Tonight, right here

beside each other:

bright moonlight.