Cold Night in June

for j.j.b.

I cry, sometimes —
they ask — frown the wrong question.

tear drops out, wanders
warm touch down the cheek
leaving itself behind
cold trail.

ah the touch, the illusion — someone else?
not there, but was.

Reminder brings another.

I only try then,
rare touch, the wander —
moving, part of me.
the airflow, fan in my window
moving tiny hairs on my leg.

I will never go – never go.
There will not be another.

Warm housewood in Maine smelled
of sawdust grown green.
Warm in Boston also, holding
rainpatter, feet never warming
moving too always for it.

It shakes beneath.
The world is going to change again.

that fan noise
drowns the street pulse

evening evening
red light – red light – red light
minutes tapping the dash
rain on the roof
a mile in twenty minutes —

once the canopy sighed there
city distant, pearlstring on horizon —

distant —

people laugh more than they mean, you know?
laugh in joy, yes
but break the compact
and laugh for sadness and for dark
laugh to cry less
robbing the crying

in smaller days, there were clouds —
the big kids could push
scraped knees glowed in sunset
New England thunderstorms, only things on time,
smelled of cheap charcoal barbecue,
warm pondwater, that was was when —

I told them, the trust, of fears and worries
small trials for a small person
laughter for the big — so laugh! —
where I can hear them.

They will not laugh again, I said.
They will not laugh again, so.

backrubs a twin gift,
the knots unfold under the fingers
each opens, loosens
and feel the mirror of fingertips
language on the spine
better than words, effect instant, shocked, prime —


left with the creaks in a quiet apartment
still smelling of paint
books in boxes — more often packed than shelved.

I reached all week for alone
stole seconds in corners
took longer showers —

now true alone
nothing just a hop away
no echoes. the tear again, false touch,
no glimpsed eyeshine here
no peace without backdrop —

“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue.”

Morning comes to offices even
without windows.
Hum of server fans,
seven hours daily, so long!
small in heart
or else my heart grows small…

no way to tell.

I collect eyes.
Grey ones shone with Jupiter in them once,
Blue caught Nantucket sun and water —
Black had me hugging streetlamps and tracing wet grass.
Stone gemmed blues whispered secrets of dead kings,
Hazels for the winter without snow —
And now warm brown,
quick and familiar with little time, so young,

All my eyes. So few.

And most are not.
I don’t recall their color
I’m afraid to show them mine —
the laughter —

and now my eyes scattered
train whispers between cities
rattled, rattled rattled —
words on a screen,
far wisdom or nearby warmth
no choice at all.

those eyes are mine,
but I cannot keep them near.

mirror mirror,
on the floor,
who will win
this tired war?

tomorrow it will rain again
like today.

my bed is cold, eyes unfocused,
the day for so long quiet
filled with danced backrubs and words,
so few eyes,
touch unreal of tears and wind,
and then, no more, not even eyes —

the cold alone night.

tomorrow cold night will come,
like today.