Black Tulips Grown in Missing Gardens
Places lost to us or places we go to do our losing,
mourn our lost. Statues there, and on good days
they’re not us. I say it but I don’t mean it—not today.
I’ve hurt myself at least three different ways
and I’m missing nine-hundred things or more.
I lost my rent check, my willpower, my way.
I’m missing the sycamore, the ill-love
at the root of it, the someone who told
me if you rub the bark, it releases
the scent of vanilla. Then a someone to magicize trees,
to see features: each crease on that old man’s face
risen true from the oak. The someone to see the dice
of expressions on faces framed in windows
from a faraway train. (His voice the only voice
that makes me cry.) I’ve hurt myself three times
today and counting, but nothing like memory:
the bamboo fence, our saint-rabbit’s grave
robbed, the dainty-bones gone and what gave
anyone the right to take them away? The painted stone
we placed there to mark the place--gone
too--and who knew how cruel any one
season might be? I miss it. Most of all on days
like today, where the snow follows sun follows snow
again and I don’t know if what I’m missing
is what I miss or the other way or if I’ve just braced myself
as the tulips have closed their mouths before they can say:
You invited us. Why treat us this way?