Don’t imagine

the war is over


just because

you’ve come home.


Just because

your wounds

have been wrapped,


just because

there were crowds

in the streets


and a few



The battle goes on


moon and memory

light and cloud


this morsel

this defecation


and having to

decide like a hawk.


No one can save you

from living.


Love is a shoal

in the river.









The front line

is today,


peace ringing



in the blood.










































For Akhmatova



I have never been there.

But that doesn’t

stop me

from writing.


The unmarked streets,

weathered faces,

new gilt scabbarding

on rebuilt churches,


history without eyes

one can greet


or dance

alone in the dark.


Nowhere seems to be



as I walk

to the center


where the towers

gather like

cruel saints in prayer.


The souls

who suffered here

sing like swallows still.


I can hardly



to inherit

this dream.









Now I see

why you didn’t want

to be understood.


The flamingo

on the front lawn

doesn’t mean anything—


it is itself

a bright color

a promise of flight

a denizen


of the eye

the breath

and the mind.


I didn’t expect you

to stay.


I don’t even

expect you to turn


and cast

your wing

over the air


as a parting



Beauty is power

in the sun.














This is a hole

I can crawl into.


Pull the dirt over,

pretend it’s a coffin,


breathe slowly

and shine inwardly

in the dark.


No one can find

what is missing.


One body is

an archaeologist’s



fingers and toes

locked in song.


Try seeing

without any eyes.




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