The GiftThe next one was published back in 1976 in a wonderful anthology of local (Denver) poets called Sight Unseen. (My poem was the only clinker.) I submitted the poem without knowing what the editor, Steve Grout, planned to call the collection, so I imagine he was surprised when it came floating over the transom (in the days when there were still transoms)—for obvious reasons….
I’ve a man inside me whose fingers
are translucent candles—a surgeon’s
fingers, or a priest’s: the nails
are pared to round, pink flames.
He unties the blue threads
lacing my flesh to these bones,
unwraps me like a birthday package.
Inside, the heart his touch burns
to open—containing black ash.
Of a photograph? Coil of dead hair?
Baby’s tear? Mustard seed? Love letter?
Milkweed on a Windy Spring Day
From the unexplored distances of the Present
(which we call the Future) a wind
strong as this one, stirring
from is source beyond the mountains,
and our eyes will
will uproot our optic nerves
and send them flying
like these syllables of silky fire
over the black rain-wet earth of beginnings.