No Net

Dear you in midair, the one who let go

of the trapeze who flies through the air

even now toward me, look in my eyes,

do not look down. Thank you for letting go,

for trusting the air and these hands that will catch you,

these hand that will send you soaring again.

Touch. Untouch. Catch. Let go. How the air rushes

past us and whispers in tongues we cannot know

and yet. Wings in our shoulders each time we release.

Trust in our hands each time we hold. Gravity is not

optional. There are rules. And. There are strings attached

to these swings. And. There’s a woman attached to these hands

that will catch you again, again, again, let you go.

Watch my eyes. See this smile. Here, lend me your weight.

I’ve been practicing, love. I will not let you fall.

Not to Get Over but Rather to Live With

Sit with me then and in a quiet voice

tell me everything—every thing, every

feeling and every imagining, and if you can’t tell

me all, tell me what slivers you can

and I will listen with all the ears of my heart

and will hold you with the dark of my skin

and the yes in my eyes will reach toward you

and fill in what is unspoken. I would escape

with you in these gaps between what we say

and what we intend. Do I frighten you when

I am close? You startle and I want to soothe

the alarm till your gaze is gauze and soft.

Some days life’s garment has lead in its hems

and the weight makes each step desultory.

Some days the starlings refuse to fly and the sky

seems barren and the blood feels thin.

Let’s begin again. And again. Come sit with me then

and in a quiet voice tell me everything. Let the great night

swallow us whole. Let the great night enter the room

and erase whatever we fear—I love you, I love you,

it’s not enough. I love you, each inch of your body,

each scintilla, each cell, each dream. I love you. I love you.

I walk toward you all day on this bridge that we build with each breath.

I love you. I love you. I’m walking toward you. I love you.

I’m here. Now sleep.

Things I Know

Your name. That’s one thing I know, and I’ve learned

to call your name when I do not know what to think, which

is often. Not that I believe you know more than I, but

because I am happier to be alive when you smile, and often you do.

That I know. And that sunrise this morning was the color

of rose petals. That butter and sugar and flour constellate

into edible joy when baked with vanilla and pecans.

That there are no panaceas, and that love does not conquer all.

Love, however, has conquered me, and when I stand

beneath a scimitar moon I imagine it carving into your eyes, too,

and I know that you know that I do. How a woman learns

to speak in twilight tongues with crepuscular verbs when regular

words won’t suffice. How silence is sometimes the only place

where we meet, and how sweetness is often too sweet. I know

that I know nothing. That everything turns given time. I know

that tonight I love you. Field of soft snow. Chatoyant stars in sky.

And Everything Seems to Be Okay*

Some of us prefer there be no denouement, no resolution

to this mystery of how the heart turns to love.

I am sure that the therapists could explain it well

with Oedipus this and Ophelia that.

And perhaps they are right. Let them be right.

And let them be quiet. Meanwhile, Orion

continues his cartwheel through winter

and starlings cavort in the twilit sky. Meanwhile

in the bloodstream an urgent bell, a clanging

that shapes us breathless. Meanwhile

the legs dance, the mouth opens as if to sing

and instead in rush ten thousand shimmerings.
*from Going to Bed by George Bilgere

I Dream of Passages I’m Not Aware Of

I Dream of Passages I’m Not Aware of

This praiseworthy world, Big Nature, keeps turning

without our praise.    So what’s a word to do?

—Jack Mueller

So much to

slip into if given the chance,

for instance the long rim that limns yes

and a greater yes, the boundary

between night and carbon blue dawn,

the fold between now and now.


there’s a crack and let’s find it

and learn what words are raveling there,

mondegreens and murmurings,

let’s erase the ink of our names

and see just how many shades

we might discover between white and black—

all of them labeled gray. This is how I say

I love you and mean I love you in thousands of ways:

lemon scent on the neck, rain of rose petals,

words that slip somewhere between now and dawn.

Somewhere We Know

Somewhere we know

that without silence words lose their meaning,

that without listening speaking no longer heals,

that without distance closeness cannot cure.

—Henri Nouwen

And so I praise the miles that carve

the mountains, praise the hours that cleave

these dayfulls of distance. Praise the longsome weeks.

In the meantime, wild geese delineate sky

with their dark floods of November wing.

They will fly places we’ve never been—

how I want to meet you there and there.

And I won’t let want steal the splendor here:

how the spindle of night unspools till the stars

spill above the rumors of wave in the river

that does not stop. Mygod, it is so beautiful.

I have not stopped loving you across silence.

Between words, this winged love does not stop.