The Quaker graveyard at Lowell’s Nantucket,
Longfellow’s Newport Jewish cemetery,
Larkin’s churchyard where the dead lay round,
The slaves’ plot over at West Main and High.
Lincoln’s dedicated, consecrated, hallowed ground
At Gettysburg; and new ash this spring above Big Run.
Pairings: stars and fireflies,
Thoreau’s fingers and the veins in leaves,
Men forked, bare, and unaccommodated -
Corrupted gods: upward angel, downward dog,
A part fresh muck and part geometry.
That dull word meaning means which of
These lines from thing to thing can hold
If spoken, hinted, or quick-pocketed.
No; no private language, but illicit
Meaning overgrows the earth,
And Durham too: this
Filthy treasure trove.
The most vital I have ever been
Was shimmering in these, my spider-threads,
And fingers tracing shining script like
Gestures in a luminescent bay;
Or stripped to skin, the air
That rests on me not even wind.