I Dream of Owls
I gather the light,
or so it seems—
the streetlights go dark
when I pass beneath them.
So you are the queen
of darkness, he says.
Hunh, I say. Couldn’t I be
the collector of light?
But he has a point.
If the light is not destroyed,
shouldn’t it be shining
out of me prism-like?
I dream of owls,
their silent, dark winging,
the sharp watchfulness
of their golden eyes,
eyes that hoard the light,
eyes that could either be
glowing or reflecting.
I can’t return the glow
back to the streetlamps,
so maybe I don’t possess it
at all, and, freed, it slips
away soundlessly across
the humid sky, leaving us
in the dark argument of night.
What My Sister Sees
Something is on fire in the valley.
The view from the porch is hazy,
air shimmery with ash and heat.
We’re up out of our rockers to watch,
wondering should we call for help.
She’s climbed up on the railing, clings
to the pole, hand cupping her eyebrows,
outdoing me with outward concern.
It seems amazing that we can hear
nothing from the valley—the mountains
still whisper across our windchimes.
A cluster of darkness comes winging
in toward the valley from the peaks,
circles, descending. Here come the angels,
she says. They look like flying monkeys
to me, I say. She studies the dark shapes.
Well, that’s evolution for you, she says.
I squint into the blankness of smoke,
willing myself to see, like her,
a shiver of goodness on their wings.
What you said: I’m really glad we decided on Thai food.
What I heard: There are butterfly wings in my Thai food.
I peer into your Pad Thai. There is nothing
so perfect there as the balance of strength
and brokenness, the play of curve and sheath
and softness. No hint of Monarch, Skipper, or Daggerwing.
I whisper: Where?
You say: Oh, I’m from New Jersey originally, but went to high school near Philly. You?
I hear: Oh, I used to ride bareback on a Jersey cow we called Chuck.
I try to picture you riding a cow,
wonder what makes a Jersey cow different
from a Guernsey. Easier to ride? Flatter-backed?
Chuck. Fair enough. I search your round face
for ruggedness, for brash rodeo looks.
You seem to be waiting for an answer.
I say: That’s cool.
You say: Umm, yeah, it was okay. Went to college in upstate New York
and I loved it up there. Beautiful lakes.
I hear: Umm, yeah, I’m an astronaut in training. Part of the new moon mission
NASA is cooking up. Beautiful lunarscapes.
Okay, your non sequiturs are getting hard to follow.
I know my profile says “In search of a fascinating man,”
but you’re kind of overdoing it. I like the moon thing though,
see you bouncing through silver dust, bringing me
moonrocks. Me staring up every night knowing you float
inside that glow, my most fascinating boyfriend to date.