here we are like herrings

going out into the world

solitary, unanswered, breaking against rocks

one may learn to paint at fifty

heads on pocket handkerchiefs

one wants to write poetry, and to love

here, against a wall, a woman stares at nothing

home they went

fatigue … the safest sleeping draft

with deserted beautiful lips

Jacob stopped reading, ‘Damn swine!’ he said

the wind was off the sea but all the bedroom windows were dark

when one’s rinsed one’s mouth with every literature in the world

civilizations stood around them like flowers

I must go and try again

a fly had fallen from the ceiling and lain on its back, too weak to turn over

even the unhappy laugh

not to sit at a table with bread and butter

go alone with a book in your pocket

he saw fireflies at night and brought back glow worms in pill boxes

curse these flies

hale, freckled, morbid

And then the dazzling white water, rough and throttled, shot up into the air

through it came the sound of military music far away

all the water was puckered with drops

Sometimes he lies in bed all day long, just lies there

how quiet it is

the moonlight destroyed nothing