Wednesday, September 02, 2009

All NC, All the Time

Elegy for the Builder's Wife

Slow build, houses where thousands live,
skeletons of houses without roofs, without walls,

houses like strange bones rising along red paths
we've always walked but will not walk again—

these are like sheets that will never feel the skin,
the white silences made most desperate

amongst so many indistinct voices,
when her red throat gently closes up.

In her hands the geraniums shake like railroads,
the plaster skin of walls becomes unattached

and a great wave draws back, making naked
the unknown earth beneath the sea, only

to close it off again. We are the builders
trembling under a bridge, pouring the gray rock

as her death calls through the din,
and he remembers nothing but what he whims.

I have shut off the grove, and the light.
For once I allow the night
its effect on every bowing branch. When I say
you are enormous, I mean you are the tree.

On the path the dogs have come
and gone, their tails whipping like emeralds
thrown in the time after money. The dogs lay
beneath the leaves, eating oranges.

The oranges could be you. The oranges could be.
The oranges could be you as a dog
or you as a fierce cup of a thousand leaves.
Those thousand leaves watch the night, too.

But today, let's not lie. Let's fall
into a stark raving madness, like children
whose hands are on fire. We can watch them
as they fly through the grove,

Nick Courtright

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