I Make Easy Emptiness
I make easy emptiness of all the washing.
There is a washer woman in my ear. A very large sky. Remove the bees.
It is your name, solid around me, like a scar.
I would forever be grateful if you would call me Japanese scroll.
We pour down the length of one another’s insecurities. Massive peaks.
Tiny people in tiny hats walking past tiny pines over miniature
foot-bridges that somehow stay the rivers’ claim.
One of us seems to eat bread; another polishes a stone.
For so long now I have been dead.
Not in-the-ground dead but certainly not alive with brush stroke and iris.
When you promised me the clean sheets, I assumed you meant
Touch me tenderly. Dissolve centuries. Lean on a tree. Our memories
collide and cancel one another into the how of the spilling seed.
The Antelope Tree
It killed you to see it—not the tree
but the antelope leg dangling
from it, part star, part scar,
cached, perhaps, by a big cat
from the hills. A deer not fifty yards
from it, grazing off Sheep Mountain
Road. Wood ticks must be grumbling
her flesh. The live animal,
or the dead one? You are neither
alive nor dead, you think,
the almost-full moon firing
the pines, one day from whole, one chunk
either side of complete. Something eating
its light, or feeding it.
George Kalamaras is an American poet and educator. He is Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he has taught since 1990.