Locked under linocut trees,
slabs with lyrics or long phrases on them.
A field of stones that only say
“MOTHER” “FATHER” “HUSBAND”
in low relief under leaves—the
birds of autumn, skimming or touching down,
ochre brown, red-breasted or canary.
In a graveyard of ambitions and old hunger,
balance of absence and bones in order,
curvature of earth and hill holding bodies.
Famous heads sleep further off but I never do
find Basquiat, though I walk the morning alone,
an atheist among angels with
green moss growing on their backs.
Pathways curl and cue above a small chapel
and lead to the highest point in the city lit by
white and distance and everything electric.
Dolls sit over tombs and flowers.
The trees are on fire, branched in blood,
coiled but unmoved—they are
fiddlehead ferns, infernal and intimate.
I am finite but unafraid. These are the preludes
where the pen is pushed across the page
but the words drag the eyes by a string.
I know that writing is the slowest form of dying
and the spinnaker and the wind are sometimes the same.
The morning is the same as every evening, slow cycling to nothing.
I carry bits of dead leaves home on my shoe.