The woods, kept from us, lance up in darkness.
Ghosts of animals press against the windows,
leaving breath we can write in, our names, our curses,
and the front door contains frames
as if images of faces could be cut out and put there.
It’s cold, the gold trap door for letters or whatever
you call the messages from enthusiasts of credit—
pages printed by machines, sealed by machines.
If there’s a human at the start of the chain I can’t
picture her features, but her hands are envelope-white,
blameless. A radical loneliness washes in
with each lost friend found, as if knowing
that because we’ll lose the world, it makes perfect
sense to put together a spare. Nights I hear the train,
the line they say raises the population—nothing
else to do, too late to fall back, too early to rise—
the old-fashioned kettle screech carried ten miles south.
At the station, the beautiful renovated station,
juniper is making an undrinkable cocktail of the air.
And down the platform steps, the ungrateful child,
carried, too big to be carried, wakes in the arms of her mother.
She shrieks, as if homecoming were always
treachery, and loaded into the car—too big, you’re too big,
I’ll give you something to cry about—
the circus acrobats are still tumbling suicidally
in her mind, living, shimmering premonitions,
and decades ahead
her nightmares are reborn as children.
July 30, 2011