I never like running out, the empty
pill and shampoo bottle, the last paper towel
a stunted iris unfurling on a brown spindle.
I don't like the half-sentence ramming
an idea, butting scant-eyed
until you, my architect, point out the latch
on the gate, slide it back
and let the poor thing run.
I like how you amass angles all day,
dentil work and eyebrow windows, pediments
and rusticated corbels. You sketch and sketch
until the flat field rises. You collage
towers from the what’s-around, then discompile
my hair and launch into morning’s red rant,
towel around your head. O pharaoh of forever,
my samurai of soffits, I like
holding the measuring tape’s other end
while you fill in dimensions. Like how you relegate
to hack the movie architect’s dreamscape.
How when I lack ribbon for a package
you divine a native curlicue in twine.
Your buildings aren’t so much designed
as accrued, like stones water-stacked
on a river bank, true to a mysterious designer’s
essential order—to casual, causal felicity.
Listen to Rachel Dacus read this poem:
The white-haired woman lowers binoculars
and points: Eagle!
We raise our glasses and scan
the Point Reyes hills to see a white-headed fledgling
standing on a ridge. His stretched wings
sieve the wind. The beaked head, a pharaoh’s,
turns slowly. Through our trembling glasses, the Golden
Quarter comes alive—O, beautiful for spacious!
We descend to the estuary,
leaving behind his practice flights—a hoist
into the sky, free-fall and strike—his freedom
now law-forged. He’s a leashed kite
tethered to this range where a few more eagles
nest each year, their circles
pruning a sky whose curve
can only be seen by satellite.
At the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital, a tethered eagle
hops atop his cage. His broken wing
created a captivity that extends his life
beyond that of cliff-roaming cousins.
He flaps in tight
circles, snapping dark flags.
We stand back,
doubting the chain while he puzzles us
with a hard black eye. A sign tells
his story. I cannot translate to him a place
where eagles and my species
now roam together
in practice flight. I cannot relate
to him our wild attempts to lift
and span a shrinking globe
with balanced rights—O beautiful!
I cannot say how like you we want to aerial,
white-headed in stretch and glide,
as when we struck down a Majesty
and first began to loft
on nothing but the right to flight.