We’re those lopsided puppets awkward
in motion through the air. Our wings
are fractured windows of pale glass looking
out, looking in, to nothing. Our hinged
and fragile stilts still work long after
we’ve miscarried them. You’ll see them
kicking in a young child’s hair. You call us
Ghost Needles. See us hovering over
the threshold of the porch. We’re the tailors
of the clothes you wear in your dreams,
the ones that fade on you the very moment
that morning’s light breaches the join
in the curtain. In the damaged rigging
of spiders’ webs we are discarded part,
spent fuselage; the subtle remains of night.
Then we rise again from the slumbering
grass, linger lazily at your door, silently
awaiting entry. We carry the dusk of autumn.
I rest on top of things, but am never
at rest. On the surface of lakes, the sea, even
the tepid water in a bucket, I am restless,
flittering about, always shifting. That’s the way
I am when you look me in the face, anytime
you can bear to look. I’ve come a long way
and can never really stop, am travelling further
yet. Wives lie out on their lawns, relishing my
touch, while their husbands stew in their own
sweat. Only women know the secret of me: to
lie perfectly still and let me accumulate on their
skin. And all those wives are mine, all of them
sitting out patiently soaking me in, none of them
jealous that I have them all, darkening under me.
The Way Back
That grey cat sleeps in the dusty spaces
of the moon’s face. She never stirs a limb
while the moon’s lit up, but only rises
on moonless nights. She is the starlight’s whim
and may be glimpsed as troubled waves through grass
or the sheen of ice on a distant pond.
Holding your gaze, her eyes as bland as glass,
she’ll mesmerize you till your heart’s beyond
the threshold of the living. In the hedge
you’ll awake, no thicker than a shadow.
You’ll die this way nine times nine to the edge
of disappearance. The next thing you’ll know
is you’re a kitten. You’ll climb the night’s stairs
as high as you want, your fur bright as stars.
Copyright © John W. Sexton 2013