beginning with a line by Tomaž Šalamun
Too much peace, someone told us,
can break a man apart
yet we could not stop moving in front
of that phrase or what it might have meant
had we not been the ones who heard it first,
sandhi rippling with every stroke of light
into the morning: sometimes we’d turn
our clocks ahead in autumn
or unwind them an hour in spring
as a mother might arrive at a house to find
the door has already been opened,
whoever was inside gone out.
There is little give and take
walking backward into winter:
half-parsed wind through sumac and birch
has never been seen in this town
where a letter from across the street
is an answer, and sometimes isn’t
for those who live and die by what
the mailbox brings, and doesn’t.
From By Reason of Breakings (University of Georgia Press, 2002). Reprinted by permission of the author.