Having darkened my hand with dark ink in
an age when close and
distant are cloudy unaided having
made so much that no

body wants to eat I wait for the latest
historic storm and the
scrape and salt that wakes us too early
or too late

model mountains pen in
sugared cars I try to

lift the snow with a wave
of homemade rhythm into
sky like berries almost black

but do I fracture some rule with
this spell how many feet do I have

to long for long-lasting mud
and the birds who

visit though we won’t learn
their names this year

either but the tracks lead
to a curve turning

back on itself with a smile
the breath leaves

green leaves shake

so let’s finish off the crackers
and call them
cookies we can watch
a movie through the neighbor’s
window just
balance on this skull

riding the hills of Hellas I think of
. The landscape rich with bright
rock parting soil old pines older
mountains. That alphabet’s sounds
and symbols that with a little practice

our tour guide’s tense wanders—
Persephone is going to be taken
the world has been punished
Xerxes again is moving on Athens
Odysseus will have a clever idea

loud and sure sun on white stone
the temple of Zeus here
and in ruins

those anthologized ones could sing

a line like beaten gold and decree

the world this way or that for time


present and time to come but now

we face exile if we fail to laugh

at those who reach deep into earth


and instead must waste so much

pixelated paper for no

more than a productive cough


our hands are too weak for oars our

feet too tired to climb the hill

and report on the clean air so


we ask the wrong question now that

the mountains have lost their last green

spirits but we have no one


no priest to pronounce the signs singing

from the steaming liver—but no—let’s not

soil this by dressing up in a song long gone


one day the animals that remain may

gather to snort and stamp a sweeter

melody in air free from our cardboard