Migraine

……….Unless the temples tremble,
this brain burns

few prayers, and this mind
……….minds no shiny Bible

……….when the kind God’s there.
It’s hurt that earns

attention. This hot
……….vein behind this eyeball

……….only learns alertness
by its pain,

and there’s a tender
……….tinder near this ear

……….whose nothing-nature’s
never won a name,

though now its livid suffering
……….proves it’s dear.

……….This hour’s dear
in which this brow’s an altar,

sweating gall
……….like gasoline to grease

……….the angry mass of me
in flames I’ll falter

out of when the graceful
……….burner’s eased.

A Few Keys

This is the key
to my pickup
and this is the key
to my home.
The key to my laptop
is letters and symbols;
six zeros are key
to my phone.
The deadbolt, the engine,
the network,
the hush
and the digital tone—
what this key can do
I’ve forgotten.
This key is another
key’s clone.

This key takes the form
of a feather. It swings
the green doors
in the roofs of these oaks.
This match is the key
to an altar.
It springs a black
ladder of smoke.
This key is the green
in my brown left eye,
but what’s shuttered
tonight is unclear.
This key is the pitch
and the torque
of a voice. May it fit
in a favorable ear.

Shiversong

Given snow
that doesn’t flinch
to throw its pounds
through heaven inch
by inch, that sows
a billion motes
of chill into
this ground no man
defends; and given
wind that won’t
begin to tell
us how it’s driven,
where it fell
from, what it’s meant
to blow and which
proud limbs the clouds
want riven—no,
not even why
its howling whims
have pardoned us
this far—friend, given
such, it’s hard
to watch the black-eyed
scarecrow miming
care above
our blighted garden:
tonight he seems
intent to wrack
the soil and climb
the air, to die,
to crash his flimsy
cross against
this great grim passion
in the sky.