Watercolor is a controlled bleed, its borders edges feathered in airy layers, brush, paint, paper, and the complex mastery of water.
Gradations of gray frame swan ghosts gliding twice-white, each a note composed as the train crosses flat land to Århus Station,
winter 1990, Kolind is all pond glass out the window the smooth idle a mute ease trumpeting water’s return, reclaiming reclaimed fields.
Today the disappeared lake’s striations line like sheet music pressed on a schoolhouse shade drawn past return, what’s dun
was water pumped and drained, what’s left is bottomland too wet to farm, rushes at the deckle edge recall the refrain of lake and swan.
For Iben, Almost Forty
A breeze in the willow sweeps new fronds over the birdhouse with the Japanese license plate for its tin roof. Each season the chickadees consider and pass its vacant eye. Seeing surrenders to sound as a slip of wind spins again the way a song yesterday returns Iben still eighteen, her smile as warm as a Danish bakery. Hedgerows line Grenå streets, the å eases the town’s length. To speak the Danish for creek, you open the mouth like the end of echo, the hole in a house with no door wedged in the center of a tree, this place you keep for those who might return if the right wind plays in the hollow ache makes.
Gray with an A
Unpicked apples last the winter, hangings and other ornamentals. Leaves are a turn ahead, February appears too soon for all this wool, for those waiting to finish the two- winter novel all war and no peace except hummingbirds and bushtits firing like the only ideas in this fog and trapped smoke. Excuses say exactly what you want to hear, trust yourself to buffer the stillness, lost faith makes a small mark, stays, a dog outside a barbershop, follows you home, this itch under the collar. You miss a good storm, real dark begs tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, everything your mother believed requires a cumulonimbus sky.
She cuts juice-glass circles into baking powder biscuits, each opens a disappeared moon fit to slather in butter, dunk in white beans with ham Mom simmers as she folds the spaces and flattens enough for the last two wheels she lines on the cookie sheet, and I fix dough eyes popped clean as a brother gone, me in his shirt, his room mine. Out the window the same laurel hedge he watched alive with robins’ nests, black branches twisted as thick as a fence blocking the Paske’s yard, croquet balls clacking, kids shouting Poison, rat dog yapping, Old Man Paske, who never knew me from my brother, biting his pipe stem inhaling, launching a single smoke ring as if he invented air.