In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Prairie Schooner 80.2 (2006) 101-108

[Access article in PDF]

From Invisible Strings

From Invisible Strings


Two teenagers, boy and girl,

   go down to the river
      with fishing poles:
beneath calm waters
   the true world
swims furiously towards them,
   so hoping to be caught.


Spring light on new leaves,

   shining like water.
Somewhere right now, in this very moment,
   someone is dying
to all this.


Tired, tired,
   almost sixty,
I step outside for a moment
   and rest in the wind. [End Page 101]


Azaleas in bloom:

   a woman catches me
staring at her
   staring at them.
She smiles at me anyway,
   the thief caught red-handed.


7AM and the lover

   leaves his lover's house barefoot
to go back to his basement room
   across the alley. I nod hello
and continue to pick
   the lilies of the valley
which just yesterday began to bloom.


I vow to write seven poems a day,

   look down and see a crow
rising into the thick rain on 5th Avenue
   as if pulled up by invisible strings,
and already
   there are only six to go . . .  [End Page 102]


Vuillard's Interior/Woman Sewing:

   is it for this glimpse
of a calm world
   that I paid my twelve dollars and entered the museum:
her head bent to her task,
   the shape of her task unknowable?


At age 70,

   Corot painted a pond shining in gray light,
and a girl kneeling before it, her face half turned
   towards the old man painting.
A gray birch rises beside her,
   slightly bent, blackened just a bit
around the edges.


You're bound to wake up soon;

   I'm just telling you now,
it's a gray day
   with fallen cherry blossoms,
a lazy rooster
   and two mourning doves
so far away
   it's very hard to hear them
unless you take first one quiet breath,
   then another. [End Page 103]


Sleeping in the attic while it rains

   I hear the sound
of the wood drinking its fill.


Our friend leaves a small vase of flowers in our room

   which the cat, excited that we are here, knocks over:
everything that happens helps us feel at home.


Viola, absence courted by strings

   in the night's first blue hour:
play me that song.


Nearing sixty,

   I sit in the bathrobe
that was once my father's.
   Bony ankles feel the breeze,
and the ringing in my ears:
   this is who I am. [End Page 104]


Walking in late spring

   I keep remembering
how much my mother loved
   walking in late spring.


I love so badly

   it amazes me
she puts the peony in my room.


In late spring

   the woman I love
whistles back at the cardinal.


   Poems about fireflies

should only be written in summer,
   but now, in late spring,
I remember them at midnight,
   beneath the old fortress in Spoleto
where prisoners were kept their whole lives. [End Page 105]


The stage door opens onto coolness,

   while the actors stand outside
between scenes, smoking.
   Their faces like plums
newly ripened on a tree, are bruised
   with makeup,
the true sweetness shining through.


These pine trees

   are my eternity.
Sitting inside their shadows
   what is death to me?


American summer:

   mist rising off damp earth,
two dozen eggs at the Farmer's market,
   one more twenty year old
dead in Iraq.


Yesterday at the ocean,

   riding the waves,
no one knew me as anything [End Page 106]
   but a sixty year old man
out of his mind
   with happiness.


At the coffee stand

   in front of the cemetery
the young woman
   dispenses the sweet with the bitter.
And people line up patiently
   to pay her for it.


Rain draws closer

   across the lagoon
and even here in Venice
   nothing can be done for it,
the empty boat filling with water.


You can call it Alchemy, Pollock,

   but it's still darkness
calling out to darkness,
   until whatever could explode
does. [End Page 107]


Inside the church in Venice...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 101-108
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.