The way this lone pine stump at last lets go,
a thing unrecognizable the fire-tide blackened.
And how one tree’s matchstick snag
holds out, sun-struck, crowned by a flag
song at noon—a meadowlark’s grandstand
coloratura sounding this badlands low.

There’s no love song finer,
but how strange the change
from major to minor.

The way the air shivers in the oven hour
of day, and how your call recalls
(was it just last year’s?) undulous long grass,
a spume of cherries. Scorched potpourri’s
all that’s left. Passion’s firework or incendiaries?
Two for the price of nothing won, I guess.
No use now chasing your flute-falls
spilling through breakers in air.

There’s no love song finer,
but how strange the change
from major to minor.

The way we’ve altered in the third degree, diminished.
And how when gone what’s left has got to walk on.
Minor hours pass as months, and then
ash degrades to flowers once again.
A wren’s loopy whistles are a dust bath song
and match my footfalls drum. I’m not finished.

There’s no love song finer,
but how strange the change
from major to minor.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 35 Number 3, on page 29
Copyright © 2017 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
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