Robin R. Tettenhorst
Outside my window
night scuds, unhinges its jaw
over a snowscape sintering
in catchlight, spindrift shadowplay
recursive like the Ganges, like sadness.
Seneca's star-smears are podded
along crosshatched fretboards: blue notes,
riffed over slurred diacritics, hang
on wind-stoked white tongues:
night, in visible echolocation. Snow,
in fledging, articulates itself. Irrepressible,
this whiteness: it colors everything.
Thinking about Laika, the First Dog in Space
It gnaws at you, absence. The way
white space's hunger pains
focus you on the text
instead of the page. Give you
room to digest it, contemplate
what's really important: what's
inside the hollowness always
limning the edges. Tonight,
I realized: this is the first winter
since he died, the first winter
throngs of geisha beetles
aren't hibernating in this house.
Seasonal pests, the local paper
insists, but they so enchanted us.
I miss them, too--another dearth
of the familiar (which is worth
hanging onto, in my book, though
hanging--by the skin of your teeth
or otherwise--can also be injurious).
Grief means vanishing, being swal-
lowed for a time. Three days after
his death, his paw pressed to my heart,
a glacial erratic--a stone shaped under
an unimaginable immensity of ice--
levered itself away, revealing blackness
behind another's mouth. At the time
I thought him my only hope of comfort.
But he said, I said to myself, this person
isn't listening to a word I'm saying.
Meaning me, I was left to assume.
So many erasures. (One is too many.)
Yet two days later, I met another--
you. And when you clasp my hand
now, my heart hums under your skin.
You said to me recently, We're not on
the same page--rebuke or invitation?
Read me, then you'll know: more than
anything, I want to fjord the cracked
spine, swaddle in a new leaf, overwinter
--with you--in the heart of all this space.
Wherefore art thou--
befuddled ponderous waddlers
whose mincing mocks the absence
of deliberation, your vocalizations
so dim they seem not worth
the effort to unfasten yourself
from the kernel of four-letter
monotony? But always together--
even the comic cocking of heads
to listen in placid unconcern
as impassioned squawks color
the perched afternoon--is it
children or crows? Anymore
I just can't tell