PeentPeen t
the shriek tenses when that shadow passes
"and midnight all a glimmer"

The crossed window panes contain the shadow
peent is heard
in scraps against the dawn
wind scraps of shine
all that grass ashiver
fieldtreethe profile

take my oath upon't
Nighthawk gothic
chisels objects into losses
with faces like clocks


The sun dropped its leaf like a sun diary
turning its page to shadow where the body lay
in the shrubbery. The body moved, but with a stilly
notion the way a wave curls over its birthday
where nothing remains except the foam streamers,
like giggles after deep laughter, like death closing in.
It should be falling without tears. It isn't. Mournful?
Yes, the sand's ribbon overturning the shell. The mollusc
unable to survive. Such prettiness the shell and its
drip of water, later dryness lent to a shelf.

The body no longer moved. That body is a bird
without rhythm or even tied to the old decanters.
Making informal wind notations, then love
when the nest fills or worms appear.

Wrist watches surround themselves with danger.
Signs. Worn clasps. Their time flies too then stops.
On a wicket. On a street. Dropped like an egg from a
tree. Expensive signals flashed in the moonlight or
midnight. Semi serious stones wearing themselves out
on wrists reaching for the decanters.

I like innocuous rhythms, don't you?
Loss isn't so important.
When nothing lies there wearing its ring.


Methods reduce themselves
arms wilt
watches drop.
The Türler, even the Türler loses time.

This water's blue day in the pool
the lake beyond its rim, even that temple
quoting distance like a hypothesis, the one
tricked by fog, three columns reduced to two.
This water's depth and splash in a few months
emptied of its arrangement, its dish.

Today the children lived in syllables pushing rafts,
pushing themselves, the clime of heads on them the sun--
then restored to balconies to relentless observation
their prowess parted. Odalisque, mistress. Later a
black strewn room. The painter gone, disappeared
his garage, his pottery flowers. Méchant.

I miss the sparrow heads. Those whose heads dip into the pool
as that smaller mark of time, the arrow on the Türler face.
Tone values important to Cézanne when painting exacting
landscape plunders.

Regard. Regard. I'll take you back to the station. Later
there'll be time.
Butterflies are silly, "planes of illumination"
just a minute! I'll blow the whistle.


Substantial contents. They wait for us violent
in their Etruscan tombs. Presences. As loss is absence.

"Skipping along the Roman road eating a tomato. . . "

Encountering marble and the exactitude of things. The
precise pared out of all the round, the munificence, the
nubile. Early dawn after heavy nightfall fog. . .
the semblance sheltering itself (almost in one's arms).
Like that chair with its balance. Waiting for ripeness,
as the success of daybreak like candles with more meaning
than guttering. Greek figures.

I am content knowing loss is less.

Moving into elsewhere. The way music takes
us to boulders.

These shields. Shadows secure in thunder.

As boats move thick against the water, forests
contained by sky.

These are contents.

Loss gropes toward their vase. Etching its way.
Driving the horses 'round the rim.


The apparatus on its knees, yes, supplicating
behind the crystal, the olive light dim
as the ambulance beams brighten and the highway
sombre while time passes its which way
like death on certain stars or moments on the stairs
or the twilight when the sand darkens slightly
and the wave brightens as time at its lamppost
on the post road, all shades drawn, the crystal
intact in its bed with head resting on pillows the cast
of dawn already in shimmer on the blanket.

Those pauses between the apparatus and its crystal.
Those pauses one examines like sand passing
between two sorrows, shielding neither; those
pauses we need to examine while waiting.

"Time's fool."

Vases! Throats! Lactations!
The milk of time in the reservoir, moon,
streetlight, water still, water waiting

The magnet time to churn. Chill.
Settle the stones with cloud current as sylphs
in their nightclothes swim, the moon on
their throats, the water hied to vases climbing
their stems, wastrels.


Barbara Guest

read the author's Bio and Working Notes

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