Ayre for Leah


A boy & his first love

like a glimpse of a foreign city

on a far horizon.



What brought you 

down the old French road

as I, an old man, bled life

from my skull, your eyes

all the grace of mercy

& tenderness, perhaps

more love than anyone 

could know in such

desperation, reaching

for your light as the world

seeped from me.


& from there,

we would meet many times again.



Honestly, it seems helpless,

like sprockets in a machine

& we must mesh & rotate

in other directions, sync

with other gears, eventually

rotating back & turning

away again, this machine

that got running somehow

& nobody can turn it off.



& honestly, when people

say love, they want some

thing for themselves.  Love

ends up taking more than it

gives, it is its own machine &

punishing rewards.  I cant

make it up to you, nor

you to me.  I cant carry this

iron on my back another step,

this inheritance bequeathed me

by I dont know what.  By me?



I see you enclosed in petals

that wont open.  In pointed

teeth that clutch you without

biting all the way down.

& now I stand watching, helpless,

as the life drips from you,

knowing, perhaps, that theres

a way out, that the wounds

arent permanent, that the snare

paralyzing you is made of dust.


But my mouth moves & you

hear no words, I call & there

no one there to listen.



You stand lovely in a white gown

under a palm on the sands

& each kernel is a crystal ball

where a camel marches deeper

& deeper into sands of crystal.



If only I could be there

the boy thinks, seeing the city.

If only I could leave behind

this nowhere town.  If only I

could cross, Id walk there.

& so he left, & hes walking still.



There you sit, a little girl

with her red dress frills,

your sensitive fingers &

petite feet.  Your index tip

draws along the enormous

pink peonys edge, a rosy, 

fresh aroma awakens you.

You spy a tiny ant crawling 

down into its welter of petals

to sip the nectar.



hear my prayer

 and come 

 to my 




Perhaps Im still that boy

who tried to love you,

& has never been able to stop.

How did I see you as if

the Pleiades lived in your hair?

As if the sparrow would 

land in your palm?

Was I always wrong?

Ive long wandered

in this hall of mirrors,

this masque for existential

bumpkins.  How you touched me

through these spiraling lives

like intersecting rings

in multiple pools.  I cant

save you, revoke what

came before, or even

send you away.  I only wish

you could see what I see

when I look inside you

& hear the deep night 

rain & touch the silk 

in your thoughts.  Like a 

dragonfly alights on 

a razor blade, Ive come

once more to revisit 

that place of sudden 

love for a stranger

truer than everything

that came before 

or after.




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