I step back from the homespun,
the naturally dyed. Fresh vegetables
unnerve me with their husks
and peelings and little ruddy bits
to save for compost. Grass stains
and leaves choke the gutters and
berries ponk ponk and you can't
remember what you were thinking
bark chafes and flesh if you eat it
lies like a lump of chalcedony in
your gut, stopping the action.
Wind grieves at the corners of
the house and rain distills pity
to a purity that is irresistible and
poison. All know a flower's dumb stare.
Fruit is home for small black worms.
Trees thrive in mass groupings
that close behind you and shudder
and stir complex imaginings
we are wholly unsuited for. Better
a quiet nook uptown. A room
with faded yellow light and Monk
on the piano. The buckle
and belting of life are beside the point.
Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems
W. W. Norton