Two Poems

August Kleinzahler

Snow Approaching on the Hudson

Passenger ferries emerge from the mist
      river and sky, seamless, as one –
            watered ink on silk

then disappear again, crossing back over
      to the other shore, the World of Forms –
            as-if-there-were, as-if-there-were-not

The buildings on the far shore ghostly
      afloat, cinched by cloud about their waists –
            rendered in the boneless manner

Cloud need not resemble water
      water need not resemble cloud –
            breath on glass

The giant HD plasma screen atop Chelsea Piers
      flashing red and green –
            stamped seal in a Sesshu broken ink scroll

A tug pushes the garbage scow, left to right, toward the sea
      passing in and out of the Void –
            vaporising grey, temporal to timeless

Clouds wait, brooding for snow
      and hang heavily over the earth –
            Ch’ien Wei-Yen

Bustle of traffic in the sky, here, as well, on the shore below
      obliterated –
            empty silk

The wind invisible
      spume blown horizontal in the ferry’s wake –
            wind atmosphere, river silk


The blue-bellied fence lizards have died back
into stone or the walls they attach themselves to,
drinking in mineral and sun, proliferating
almost before one’s eyes,
a slow-motion saurian mitosis
threatening to blanket every surface,
a reticulated vine with eyes and split tongues.

Gone, overnight it would seem,
like the sun at day’s end below the horizon
but not returning: a conjury, the Lord
retracting his edict of fiery serpents upon the Israelites –
disappeared into a compost of shadow.

The summer’s heat retreats slowly here in the valley,
a dusting of snow already on the mountain summits.
Tirelessly, the roots of camphor and live oak
probe in the loam for moisture –
roof tiles, brass doorknobs, hot as griddles,
silence in the village.