All the Little Clocks Wind Down
Now the blackberries in the yard
have finished their work of fattening with juice.
They wanted to flower, wrote Rilke, but we
wanted to ripen. That meant being dark
and taking pains. Whatever the freight
trains are carrying tonight is acrid, just
sulphurous, and looking out at the bay, dull
pewter, something feels over, that it’s all over,
elsewhere, even the wind. A place is just
a place, innocent, but the mind makes it
palimpsest, makes now go back to then.
I smoked a cigarette with him once on that corner,
the two of us laughing or starting a fight.
The two of us walking out of a movie theater
or into a bar. We sat so happily together
reading and not speaking at all, our arms or legs
touching without either of us looking up.
Tonight the waves arrive tremulous
as a small voice breaking, almost defeated,
that wants to be heard. The freight train interrupts
with its blur of furtive cargo. Darkness, my name
is Jennifer Grotz and I am almost ready to confess
I was reckless and careless and selfish
with my life. I am almost ready to see,
I am almost ready to close my eyes and do
what the darkness beckons, now that he
is like a poem read by no one, now that I am
like an illiterate desperate to understand,
now that she is like a moth’s kiss on the pane
unfastening at my presence, now that
I stare at water, at cloud, at sky,
trying to see through to the other side.
For a good while it worked, this life
I made, these poems that made
wanting, not having, enough.