New York City skyline at night


Spring 2009



Ron Price

Letters to the Danaïd

Perhaps there's no difference between a tree
Not remembering buds come again
Leaf flower and fruit

And the heart of a man who can only see
Bare limbs fallen leaves
The heart of a season the sun cannot lighten

Perhaps there is no one leaf
Among the fallen
That makes a tree ready to throw away everything

To keep it

I could learn from that tree
Today in the winds moving through bare limbs
Forget tomorrow wait


I have heard you speak in a dream
The silence of everything I never understood

What makes me sad
Isn't you

I wake up
Feeling there's no reason to
Spend the day waiting to sleep again

This is wrestling death on the lip of a wound

Your absence in twilight
With weeds dew squirrel and persimmon elm

If only you could put your lips to my ear
There is such anguish
In silence

I was sure I'd hear your voice again


Not knowing where you are
It feels we're in the same moment

I write these words
On the substance of smoke

What I heard in a dream
An imaginary letter I fell asleep reading

Though I'm still awake
And rattling through the apartment

A single castanet

Whose sound can make plain
What it cannot explain

How I've dug around the roots of the elm
For the squirrel your Labrador killed

As if that might answer
The question I asked with your name

Your voice a thrush
caught in a thorn bush

Its wings tearing free


I searched through twilight scented the color of ripe plums
Walked the steps where we sat
That night in the park the trees drinking the dark
Underside of leaves moonlit and flashing

Homesick for a place that was never home
And went back to my apartment and fell asleep
Reading your imaginary letter

Dreaming a voice delicate as wine or blood the city
In flames the towers fallen our lives
Together or apart

An indulgence neither of us could buy

That place we found is still there
Buried in ash under ideologies and melted steel
That flashing your voice

Gone the night you opened to me
Gone into a sky lit with dead stars

I brood on the seared bones of absence
Having lost you the way all things survive because
Our names aren't drawn out of dreams any more than dew
Washing ash off the leaves of a honey locust

I wanted your fingers on my lips when I died


Without you I've been caught in a current
Of waves playing with jellyfish

My heart is sick missing you
And I don't even know who you were

An idea a possibility
Someone at the wrong street corner

I wish I knew the cause of feeling homesick
For a place that's never been home
But I don't know

You said division is built into the heart

I could have held you a long time tonight
Before we spoke
And after the words were said

Held you again


The echo of your voice
Keeps blurring into not-you
A thrush torn free of a thorn bush

A trick of light
The image of your body in my arms
Laying down your gentle derelict laughter

After the little rain and cold of the past winter
Come buds on the limbs of honey locusts

I miss your wrist
The way you raised your arm pulling your hair out of a clasp
Your hand turned up arched back

It's one of those windy March evenings
Early spring blunting the icy edge of winter
Your absence palpable

I can taste the scent of your body
Not next to mine
The way I can smell where the towers aren't

As if we were two halves of a wound longing to be healed
And beyond it


Your absence became
Debris that would not stop smoldering

I shoveled concrete pulled up floors
The days went by heel-and-toe

Past the smiling faces of the dead
On fences columns walls autumn

Rain then snow giving way to crocuses
And still I reach for you

Touch your back and wake without you



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