From Russians I learned never to shake hands
across a threshold, but a half-hour after
rising, I return to set my cool hand into the bed
where a river of dreamheat lingers, the still-warm
flank of our horse’s dark gallop.
To make sure it was me they got, my parents
put up all night with a mockingbird
perched aloud in one of three liquid birches
a handspan from their open window. Do you
think I’d make that up? Ask me,
and I might tell you the joke that rolls
like a yellow marble from all that I have made.
A cloak of lightning around my shoulders,
I can slip like a drumbeat into the actual world.
If only making love did not
also make loss. If only a curtain call
and the dead lifted their bodies,
lithe. From the surprise taxi emerged a child
beautiful in her buttoned coat, but on the stones
even her small feet sang
the terrible clatter. You have suggested we
take the floating trip, meaning, perhaps, without
formal destination. Will you bury your head
in the softness of my belly where old
yearnings still sleep? Continent
to continent, homeless and without
fixed beliefs, perhaps a large part laughter,
there is nowhere loss will refuse
to take us. I have decided to trust
the late night horse and its riders.