The Answering Ice
For Michael Castro (1945-2018)
he answers the phone. He hears blackbirds
meandering their sentences across the sky.
He hears leaves scratching their syllables
across the porch. He can hear what he doesn't
understand and know it is his like the dust
settling on his books. He can tell by
the tone of his voice that he's talking
to his grandmother that is not his grandmother.
He will have little to say and too much.
He will simply go along with whatever is said
to him. He will be evasive, half-hearted,
He knows he must give it all up.
He feels the weight of shadows breaking
the oak's branches. He hears wars unresolving
themselves. He hears the board sliding
from the roof, hitting him in the back of the head
driving his face into the raw dirt. Premonition
or practice? He bursts our laughing.
He can hear a child silently digging to China.
He laughs again when he is locked in the attic.
Another time he falls through the ceiling
His wings not having time to open.
He will have little
to say. He will simply go along. He will
listen half-heartedly. He hears the coming
snow pressing deeply down on itself and on him.
Finally, he asks