for Robert Dash
A permanent occasion
Knotted into the clouds: pink, then blue,
Like a baby holding its breath, or colorless
As the gush and pop of conversations
Under water. You feel handed from clasp to clasp,
A concert carried off by the applause.
Other times, half of you is torn
At the performated line and mailed away.
You want to say, "Today, the smithereens
Must fend for themselves,"
And know the ever-skating decimal's joy,
To count on thin ice
Growing thinner by degrees, taking its own
Sweet time and taking us with it,
To navigate magnetic zones in which
Intense ecstatic figures touch, like worlds,
But don't collide, it being their devotion
To depend on you to name for each
A proper sphere. "Today, I turn to silence;
Let the language do the talking."
X the Unknown and his laughable, loveable crew,
The tumbling balconies of one-of-us-is-a-robot-
(Spanking a beach so empty
If you weren't around to trip me
Would I really fall?) and days
When the wind is a bridge across our power
To enumerate, to dig, to plant, to hold
And to communicate the twill-and-tweed-
Colored field's coldness
Toward our game of enticing it indoors,
As if we could erect a rival gate to the departure
Whose uniform destination can't surprise,
Is blind, speaks not,
When on those white and sudden afternoons
I take your eyes, and see the sun set twice.
[from Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 85 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems, edited by David Lehman]