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Deep Pools of Rain
for L.G.

Sooner or later, you and I will be sunlight diverted from a leaf,
not even one second squandered, not one second accrued,
not apologetic, not grievous, not circumspect,
not drifting anxiously at the edge of strangers’ houses.
I hoist the day moon on my shoulder, quicklime on my fingers. 
The Chinese are right:  it is a rabbit
darting between bricks and dead hacked limbs. 
We bet our lives on this now that spring is here.
We imagine four mourning doves aligned in the thick grass.
These doves keep intermittent track of some lost itinerary
now that we’ve forgotten the present as much as the future,
now that consciousness itself seems posthumous.
This that is forgotten becomes the motion of blood.
It is noon at midnight, or midnight at noon,
nothing added or subtracted, nothing wanting to occur as it is.
With just a hint of evidence, a half-smudged thumbprint
on a teacup’s handle, a small braid of hair snaked from a drain,
a shirt with a top button missing, striations on the left sleeve.
What does the rain expect pooling beneath the pines? 
The sheathes of spiderwort suck the water up
and bulge their bright eyes, even as the porch chairs
wheeze beneath our weight.  We begin feeling that nothing
is miscellaneous, that a good chair is as phosphorescent
as a nighttime sky with every single star demanding its legibility.


In the Vicinity of Birdfeeders

You apologize for being short with the world.
It’s not the world’s fault.
The world is loquacious with each of us.
The thief’s bicycle is nearly camouflaged
in the overgrown towers of mint.
Maybe we do take our rewards with us.
Or else we strip away things that no longer hold our interest
and become lighter beings, like gnats or mosquitoes.

Plaster of Paris flakes away from the corners
of the most vigilant projects.  Houses of stone
offer more equity over time despite expected vicissitudes,
monsoons and ant mounds.  You know the drill.  
Does this longevity evaporate like sweat? 
We can pray or wage war, pocking someone’s stucco.
The angels drank whiskey on your back deck
but never included you in the lively discussion.
Their presence was a comfort,
but they’re gone now, with their unwieldy wings.  


Richard Lyons is the author of These Modern Nights (U of Missouri Press), Hours of the Cardinal ( U of S. Carolina Press), and Fleur Carnivore (Word Works).  His work has appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The Iowa Review, and The Paris Review among other journals and magazines.