Howard Aaron
Seven Days

    for Kenneth Rexroth


In the Cascade Mountains
autumn leaves refuse to fall.
Cold fires twist on each branch.
I wait for you to call.


Deep blue irises.
Same color as the lake.
I attempt to pick one.
The earth shifts.


I was born in the desert sun.
The crow's beak grew large.
So many years later
he still hovers,
my arms scarcely fill my sleeves,
these hands barely hold things.


I mailed you a box
filled with tiny perfume
bottles. Like me,
the postman longed to kiss you.


I wander the prairie
and look for you along miles
of railroad tracks. Instead I find
smashed pennies. They remind me
of the lovely curve of your back.


They say the rats in these walls
live better than us. But they
have never shared your handkerchief.


Eternity takes up residence
in the shell of midnight.
I close my eyes again
and dream of the thousand ways
mango slices and tomatoes
glisten in your white palms.