first movement

cold the heated city
countless pedestrian agonies
except i lie down with you
and sleep and hug and sleep
in the dusty bedroom
and kiss my son's ear
everything will be over
everything will have failed
except the sum of us
and nothing will have changed for it
and this will not matter
before and after will not matter
in the bare bed again
in our lifeboat house
on our continent of garden
obsessed with lettuces
with our tree protectors
prest by the sun into remaining
given no choice but to run on the grass
to sing invisible
songs of persistence
hot and complicated as nasturtiums
crushed under blue sky
where swifts bicker and dash
stateless acrobats


shrinking into invisible happiness
a still brown butterfly in the buddleia

crows stroll over black mud
on the filter beds

silence of paint
             a meander
a time acting

sparrow bounces down roof truss
one quick scratch
continues bouncing

chatter of overflows onto asphalt
girls murmur and the crunch of a boy
with crisps
the packet also
an overflow
a shattering water
all contribute


to seek
tirelessly a thrush on cut
grass for a point
to the fountain

             or history
             of one body
             how to fly
             into what someone did

rain onto us under willows
little girl's awake in the night
though we are in different rooms
all tends to the black breathing
of our togetherness
that when i am asleep i am
more useful than the poet
breathing us

exhaling us

deaf to the dripping gutter's
broken drumroll
there's nothing but the climb
a mouth with a song in it
the gutters full of rain
i said so and remain alive
such is invention
a rawness
in the vessel travelling
to sleep
into the symphony of breath
our darkhouse holds
tides of light
running over the curtains
from headlights like armour
upon us
             o effigies of belonging
securing each other
by a loss of attention
in safe time
black forgiving pause of sleep
my sailors all about me
shipwrecked and safe


fear and peace

in here
how the leaf falls into place
at the moment of the universe
so that
rain against the doors
a great embrace
cascade of hailshot on glass
finds rhythm
what fell into my eyes
was her smile
holding the thorn man
so that
all was uncertain
all shapes momentary and
and i was among them
my tree among them
so that i must
ascend the dark house
and enter again their first breathing
as i would descend into water
all my skin alight
with them
with love
so that
when light takes us apart
there is some chance
             some scent or
night scar marking me
             a thing
of theirs a
loved man

         keith jafrate 2007