Pamela Alexander
Hard Light

In a blizzard of heat I admire
insensible buildings: sunlight is hard
and they are harder. I cannot believe
we will see each other again.

Swallows score the air. Inside, in
louvered light, it is eleven--the clock
sings electronically. On its face,
in place of numbers, pictures.
Hour of dove, hour of mockingbird.

Old buildings will be torn down
and the new buildings will look like
each other. Two or three species
of bird will perch in four kinds of tree.

Already I do not care where I am.
I see where you have gone, leaving no
way to follow. Nor can I go back
to the rafts of trillium afloat
in spring woods, to the field where
woodcock courted, high, in spiralled falls,
to your hand turning a frond
to find the rows of spores.

We found a nest with eggs once
in the pocket of a scarecrow. Shall I
look for you there?

I would empty the pockets of the wind.

The clock is broken. It points to
one bird and a different bird sings.

For us it is no time.
South of Mae West

Oh boy aubade, a wide one, me in Ohio
you in Tucson. Met you in the desert with a radio
in your pack, cacti let you by and then bit me;
my socks still bristle botanically. I'm snagged
by your orange anorak and scree gaiters, obsessed
by your fanny pack and your fanny, dammit.
You were over my head, your heels rising
on thermals, must've been, no footholds I could see.
Saw ammo on the dash but when I asked if you were
packing you said A highly improper question.
I'm feeling highly improper. Antenna standing up and
quivering, is that de rigueur? Boy oh baby, it's
the morning of something. Haven't been inside your
truck or trailer, you haven't been inside my--was that a
hoodoo in your pocket or were you just glad to see me?
You speak good German which means you like to save
all your verbs for dessert. Not me, I like 'em everywhere
and active. I like your syntax, Sylvester all over.
You ran up rocks like a cat burglar, well
burgle me. My alarm's disarmed.