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A monk is knocking at a door by moonlight (Jia Dao) I go to answer stumbling over cat turning a cup of tea into my ink pot my brush tumbles I open the door only the moon
echoes and fragments In silence I write words I cannot speak I can’t find the name for what I long for I wonder if being too careful is harmful In the lines of my face I see the edge of sorrow and the memory of laughter Breathing ice slivers I watch silence falling in flakes The stones I placed on the woodstove warm my bed How complex simplicity can seem What is that fragile fragrance of memory I can’t find the name for what I long for I strain to hear silence Can I make a poem of something that tastes like ashes A deafening beauty beneath drag of wave — a rattle rumble of stones Betrayal is a stone too hard to swallow * I’d like to write a poem but I don’t know what it would say I carry lovers and husbands inside me to places we were never together — Is there anything left to be said I haven’t said about jealousy and regret Desire diminishes — I hardly remember its fire What would happen if I were forced to listen to the sounds of torture Is there any space at the edge of safety A bowl of pink and orange peaches blushes in the light of the full moon Desire sleeps beneath forgetfulness At the corner of regret and desire a wind withholds the delivery of spring I read your letter — rain streams from my eyes Do the deaf recognize silence Thoughts stream and bump into each other — Your words try crossing my road This is not the right time This is the only time The bruises of morning I long for this something I cannot name * In a space of silence I learn what is There are those I love who are shaking on an edge Sleep pushed me out of her lap, walked away, left me stranded in dusky morning hours and unfinished dreams I make space for the emptiness filling me I thought ours was a steadfast love Watching you watching her It doesn’t help to remember love Some days everything is a prayer Loneliness is hollow longing deep How do I capture what is gone * I don’t know how this story begins or how it ends Before I knew what God was there was salt water What would it be like if bombs and guns felt guilt Grief is a pulse If I ate your words, really digested them, could I write your poems Is it the aroma of baking bread I remember — or is it the anticipation of the taste of bread On the median of the Penn Turnpike my gravel bitten brown calf skin vol 3 (of 8) of Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage lies In my dreams I never arrive I must find the island of lost words * Beneath flickering stars lightning daggers and frogs speak of fleeting things 8 swans stir the pond Clothed in torn sweater and words I wake A leaf clings to the window waiting for flight like me Where is the boat that carries sorrow away In the snow I cried for the love that tasted like spring Sometimes only pleasure fills the empty cup of longing Butterfly on a window of memory and sadness A woman trembles in a distant country I drink red wine until the stars weep then everything begins again Night leaks away * I must find the island of lost words
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