backlit holes in tarpaper




when it goes up here it's really gone.

It's good when it is, we think, because

every star's a cause

shell casing at a crime scene

tortoiseshell with a rind of salt

from the last visit to the water

and the more you push on those skybound bursts

they start to cool and fade.

We know their dimming best

as history, the past, the dead's

best shot at us every night in memory.

Some nights they give permission

for you to continue on.

Others they refuse.

The trick is knowing when to give it up,

recuse yourself to watching the world's                                                                                   

silence, feeling superior,

not the Lake, though you've felt that way too,

icewash and mascara, whitecap ears

and weather, the uncountable sunk stormed dead.

Other nights you're Michigan,

the Erie floorboards of dreams, Huron

a hundred times, hearing things,

the echoes of blacktop, Adrienne Rich,

dark hard scars, ears in jars,

and blackness with chance of Carolyn Forché and little threat of star.

Some Ontario,

a mouth, a bowl of mouths, soggy, sagging into frown, an infirmary

on Formica.

It's a fault, this solipsism:

you always feel like the world is here

and here only, that all is all that you can see.

You can see it's stupid.

But how to believe in anything

outside of vision, hush,

when everything you see and say

is slowly pressed away

in the data wash?