“If there were a middle ground between things and the soul
or if the sky resembled more the sea,
I wouldn’t have to scold.
my heavy daughter.”
—Dream Song 385, John Berryman
Bonds of booze latched behind beveled wood
and glass. All day, the window; the bare
ground hard as iron; the woods, still
stone crosses. Strangely sentient, the un-
plugged telephone near the sleeping cat;
daughter drags in the latest cold from school,
mittening a paper collage of winter stars.
All night crystals dune at our door.
Morning, I get up from writing near the window
(the Christmas cactus flames) walk across
cold maple, slip on wool-lined boots and open
biting December. Warmth from the house vapors
into God-rutted cornfields: ivory Sahara.
I trot pushing daughter on her sled, icing
a run. I backfall into a drift, drunken with cold.
(from The Dryland Fish, 1st World, 2003)