you are in the diode archives spring 2010




As it is passed at night, this is the snow, the snow past and future,
light snow lifting, lifting down to the tracks, the train,
this the snow by feel as if in bloom on boughs earthbound.
Simply on eaves, inconceivably on spires, on trashed trolleys, rail ties,
for who in this train of faces pressed to glass would resist the snow,
the suburbs soon, soon the suburbs absentmindedly white by the reflection
of their own electric light—
                                      a self that lives just above itself
on dead cars in yards, on rusted drums and sloops on blocks,
roof to wire to roof and so on the snow collecting the lake
a cracked pane, for what is not helpless when snow falls, softens, cancels
sound, snow sheeting the lot a man walks a horse across,
his brim layered, sleeves sleeved by it, snow
glove to dark rein to joggled bit to ice-shagged mane—
                                      this snow, immediate and unto itself,
that does not look hard, or at all.
In a passing home, a mouth in a window.
In the passing homes, mouths in the windows form the O of snow.
Now more hungry a mouth atwitter, now a mouth making eyes,
now a throng of people for a mouth to part,
a mouth that cannot help itself—
                                                   how the snow baffles
the window, the train’s slim gallery
of sound, a mouth opening to speak,
and how, in the occasional moonlight
a distance opens—
                                      new, whiter
than white, an instant not meant for this Earth
of touch and be touched.



You see yourself simply, as afraid
for others who speak with too open
a mouth.
                                       No, more simply
you see yourself as afraid: the white
in the nose becomes ethereal, becomes deep signs
in music, then a face’s simple form of heat.
Dark speeding cabs
become little worlds where your fumbling
cannot unclasp her. No one
can forecast the midnight of museum animals
when they slip fever-eyed from dioramas
into wilder degrees of want.
Tomorrow’s news: a young painter does a chivalrous thing,
slumps to Earth. Tomorrow
the swans once a loveliness against even-ness
will nip at wrists with a tenacity too great
for hunger, and in yet-to-be recognized irony
a galleon hastens for you, plays future
wind with a math heretofore unseen.
Whether what you come to
or what comes for you—
                          Will what becomes of either
                          finally be a world.

Say nothing. The difficulty between changes
in dreams and changes in what forms dreaming takes
is orchestrated by a series of slips.
Now fog on the park
tears and the trees leak past their edges.
Now all is involuntary, is moon.
Do not speak now: for the thing said is a night
lake, and now there need be nothing more
than the swans’ glide.
Their vees cannot help but widen.



Against air
another beautiful bird’s
blue body
into the bright cannot.
My captain: children, a city, close clouds.
Color come dark
as the deep down earth evens
evening and the eyes of a face
fall, fall, feel the field go glass, go hands
having heads hear horses,
ice itself go la la la.
Lake, at last. And leaves.
Let light line a little.
Look, my love—
man may, might,
might mouths move, moving near
Nothing now.

Once open
our own palms part, pass.
Radios rise into the red—
say sea, say “see,”
say should sky simply
sleep in smoke and snow?
Someone. Something. A sound
and still sun: surfaces.
Things by the thousand threading through: a throat,
a touch, trees turning.
A voice. Water. Wave white
on whose wind?

A window through which a wing becomes word
becomes world.



Should they fall into more
                                       Of me, the leaves,
And in doing so reveal whence I came:
Bright pinelands in radials, slow pull of the mountain
Chain, fish hawk holding for some iridescent
Mistake out of want, its image
Impossibly back upon itself—
                                       That some absolute
Would cancel the whole of the mountain,
The strange crown of the turning trees,
Void the shrill, glacial silence
                                       Of the hawk closing,
And the lake would arise from a body to speak
Gently in confidence of emergence and closure
Until all surface and tricks of sun would obsess
Of me, become encompassed
By me, and in returning the whole of myself
To that which bore me,                     
                                                   the whole of the lake,
                                                                Deep core to rippling shore,
                                       Would sing.  


Nils Michals’s first collection of poems, Lure, won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Award and was published by Pleiades and Louisiana State University Press. Recent work has appeared in Sonora Review, The Tusculum Review, and Bay Poetics. He teaches in the San Francisco bay area.