If, and Longer

I wake with why in my mouth
and this time

it stays. Balled below my tongue
like a seed

I won’t plant, afraid to surrender
the dream

already slipping away. I press down,
make of my mouth

a landscape, its depths barren, its soil a prison.
Above: prints

wandered fresh into snow, crossing,
uncrossing, new

cardinal directions, lines on a palm—
fate line, life line,

curve of Apollo, girdle of Venus—all leading
to you. Your hair,

so much longer now. Your face,
famine. Your hands,

slicked with river. You’re free. Somewhere,
there’s a horse. Elsewhere,

its apple. Elsewhere still, the field
for us to fill.


I doubt these empty pockets
could produce a grave
or plot of land
or shovel—my fingers
cannot penetrate this
scorched, mountainous earth:
and always,
there is hunger.


I spent an entire year asking: how will I go on without you?