Two Poems

Adam Thorpe

Prints

The dollardom shore of big Lake Michigan
finds him doing what he did as a boy

by real seas, running alongside them:
the land’s hem stitched, he’d look

back upon a long beach emptied
by twilight (his spoor blurred as if already

old), and turn it to Avalon, or Crusoe’s island.
Even on the edge of Central Africa

he had to change into somewhere else
what they would always be alone with

after the bush-drive; imagining this
not ever seen, not watched, kept

locked from eyes like a schoolgirl’s journal –
older than lungs, earlier even than gill slits

or the hair-like cilia of bivalves, the sea-edge
stroking backwards through deep time

and the blasts of geology, silvering his prints
from laval sand with the stands of palm-trees

cupped from sight by his hand . . . then find,
on the slow walk back, an impress or two

the sweeps of foam had missed: fossils
of some unknown future, or ears listening

through billions of years of hiss for the delicate cry.

Recent Summers

This imminence . . . an English distillation
of lowering hedges, a hammer-weight of heat

on the accomplishing ferns: everything tending
to cataclysm, fiddling while even dawn burns.

We wait: things might get worse (the hearse
ticking by the cemetery gate). The silence of birds

we don’t look up to, now we’re up to things.
The calm freight of clouds too late to count.