After a Vermont Pond, 1977

Listen to Caroline Finkelstein reading this poem. When lust avenged itself by disappearing,

we were still sincere
and amenable and

wanted to continue,
meaning though we hadn’t

lost one cardinal-feather’s
weight of passion

our selves appeared,
the way coiled ferns do

in spring woods.
Brief months. Difficult, flickering shadow

of the self ascendant, airlight,
although we balanced

carefully on wetland planks.

This was the portrait
we tacked to our wall. We liked

our mastery, yes,
we liked posing ourselves

after all that time of being
posed, of posing with.

A view from the window:

a red truck, the porch edge,
what we saw were images

of prayers, the willingness of the ordinary.

If we were birds we flew
from x to y leaf depending on

the kind of woods we found.
We did not read the paper.

We did not say in rotten market places,
tomorrow food will come.

It didn’t come. Flies came.

Today there was a crisis:
a large curlicue of sorrow

wrapped up Troy
where Hector turned to offal.

We were the open blue
of the Aegean. We were the little fishing boats.