Eating with My Shadow
My shadow eats a rough diet
of acorns and brush. It’s dark
teeth chew and chew.
Sometimes it climbs the sides
of buildings, eating mortar
and brick. It’s as hungry as a dark
star. My shadow has no name.
It answers to no one, responds
to no questions, refuses every
overture. It will not sit with me
at an oak table with a clean
white cloth, sipping wine,
eating muscles done in fish stock
and garlic served over pasta
with a salad of cucumber, spring
onions, tomatoes, and kale, daubed
with balsamic vinaigrette. It will
not pass the salt or converse about
the day’s events. My shadow only
licks dust and crumbs beneath
the table, ravenous, self-contained.
By River’s Edge
I remember waking with your head
on my chest, down by river’s edge
with webs of dream hanging from
our eyes, and you pointed to mallards
swimming away into dark mist where
water disappeared into blurry sky.
The past hung around us like a curtain
of leaves, sweeping our faces in early
morning chill. All night we had ridden
west, past buildings that lurched
in their own neon glow, over bridges
of stone and ice. We had passed through
the land of the dead, where our mothers
lay beneath weeping trees, and our horses’
sweat froze on their chestnut flanks.
We rode and breathed the flames
of our grief. How hungry we were for salt
and bread, but we were wise and tasted
no food. And now we are back where
we started, the river flowing south toward
the cities of men, gliding over the dam,
gathering speed as the wind kicks up
white waves on the brown water’s skin.