for Charles Wright
Not even that, not even
Nina singing why you wanna fly, Black-
bird, you ain’t never gonna fly,
soul fully alive in this
bedroom’s smallness, sorgo in
the freezing tongue of storms, hailing
kingdom come—is enough.
Already kingdom came and went,
the stilled light breaking
reckless in the snow, and even if
I could stand in it, wind-whipped, obdurate
and iron-clad, it could not account
for this howling world
we are born to, that we die in,
that we cry in, that we sing in
and are found in, and are bound in.
All around us, like swans, last songs ascend.
Open wide, swallow it whole;
the transfigured earth settles, so white
it hurts to look. All has been baptized in fury
and ice, the Blue Ridge blank as wax paper.
If all forms of landscape are autobiographical, I,
one brown face anomalous against the rime,
have walked into another man’s book.