Love Story

Samarkand never was, though there were
verses in the book that spoke
of lacquerware and lapis lazuli,
the beauty of our goods, delayed for months
at Kandahar or Minsk, the horses
dreaming in the dark behind
their blinkers, nightlong
caravans abroad beneath the sky.

I stood out in the road, by Brewster’s Yard,
and waited for a ghost, since ghosts were true,
a pair of Clydesdales pressing to the fence
to listen: rain; the music of the spheres;
or else, those calls I knew, from other worlds,
the wind across the sands, a whimbrel’s cry.

In Memoriam

I knew one thing: night too needed no
                                     Adam Zagajewski

He missed the spring:
                                       a slow pour through the eaves,
snowmelt flooding the streets, the gutters singing.
Aconites bloomed in the last
pockets of grit and ice
by the old canal,
deer mapped the fence-lines, honeybees
quartered the yards.

No reason, now, to talk about the dead;
I turn a corner and the wind gusts in
from everywhere, its salt touch on my lips
a fragment from the Book of Genesis;
and everything comes clear, no explanation:
even in lockdown, the mixed scent of sugar and ozone,
sun on the courthouse, plum blossom ghosting the square.

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