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My Perfect Night

ISSUE:  Summer 1997

for Bob Hill

First a tumble of clouds, muscular and black, full of noise,
then a star in a rift, remote
as a promise you intended to keep. A moon, of course,
or half a moon battering those clouds with metallic light.
In my perfect night I hang this
over a clearing, a pasture, say, circled by woods.
Cows in their gentle bodies
sleep near the woods, black leaves float
and tumble on the wind.
Far an the west, but not too far,
a few bears still dream
in the shadows of the foothills, a wolf eludes
extinction to lick dew off a stone.

In my perfect night I close the door on a dark house
and walk out into myself,
into the pines full of tree frogs. Somewhere in the dark
a cottonmouth flowers,
the carcass of a deer is lathered with flies.
In my perfect night I follow a trail by the river,
and my shadow on the water
looks deep and alive.


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