Enough times now I’ve dropped the blade of love
in the lake, thumb scrambling moon on the surface
to find again the hilt, and catch there. It’s very dark here,
and my palms come up slashed faintly with language
I can’t read until I’ve made the fire. Then I see it
all: summer mornings spanning out impossibly
the shape your nude back left in the dust on the table
how an angel wades into water to keep his wings dry
and that name, like the light of the moon on a coyote’s coat.
Someone’s hand still hovers above the holstered butt
of midnight. Little rivulets through red clay forming
a continent of blood. How I crossed the plains for you,
for your clothes like cottonwoods, for this cliff
of squint. Men die in just a little less air than this,
a little less breath. I get a feeling that comes out of the clouds
on a ghost with veins and reins to wrap its hands.
I know what I’m entitled to, it’s this vision I keep past stars
of a cowboy name. At times it whistles through the canyons.