Randy Roark



VI. A Summoning of Stones

The drinks were meant to be
reassuring but were, finally,
failing us, followed by a
profound melancholy

and a silence like dusty roses,
or the silence that belongs
to the soundless and motionless
paintings by Watteau—

like a dulled moon-pearl
in a glass of wine, or the
shadows in the garden where
I sing because I’m drunk.


XV. Far Behind

One thing’s for certain—
we are never freer than when
we are considering the dead—


XVI. In the Act of Drowning His Books

Floating down from the aether, the sunset hour
melts into darkness, and I am no longer
the person who began writing the poem
lamenting last year’s dead leaves,
or the days spent to get a new book done,
or the grey snow that breaks or
seems to break under my feet.

This sundown is mine in some
essential way as I attempt to make
some sense out of what I’ve done—
this mouthful of noise before
everything goes numb—

For an hour now the sun has been going down
and the sun is feathering the sea.


XXI. A Return to Normal

In the afternoons you sang in the studio
while you made stained-glass hummingbirds,
nourished by the light that passed through them.

But it usually wasn’t that specific—
even those songs we composed
in the half-light when everything
was still familiar, even our longing
to preserve what had been already lost
as I watched you drift somewhere
far beyond our life together,
wandering into some distant place,
toward something I could almost see,
which is exactly where I came in—