To Larry Levis

Street after street
I keep your death
between my teeth
its iced wing thaws into a sound
that turns a shoulder West
and chooses not to stop

The road calls
like a woman lifting
her arms to welcome the future
with an unbreakable embrace
Under candlelight you touch
her skin with swollen palms
stained black from picking grapes
in the San Joaquin
where halos of dust
hover from light to dark
until there are no shadows
from the heat’s trance
Here under green waves of grape leaves
we snapped rubied clusters
between thumb and knife
rescuing moments that were
fermenting with age
until words were no longer necessary

I catch your shadow ringed by stones
stepping from the vineyard
of your father’s farm
Thin shoulders shrug and pinch a smile
where the worn spots of earth
slowly fill in the roots of your breath

Overhead flutters of white doves
burst from a nearby barn
where I see you leaning from sunlight
your dark eyes child-like

and lamenting