I put it in the boat, which swayed
through the yard’s green sea.
Oars clipped roses, gone blue now
under the starred light. I was afraid
of what I’d left behind, what might follow.
I was left with nothing: swallow of water
in the bough, the neighbor’s dog rolling
in the moon’s creamed bowl. There was a voice,
a man sending black ribbons up like flares.
I passed the bed of impatiens, petals whirling
in a ghostly current. This is what happens
when a road becomes a song, when the ground
gives up a river. We lose our taste for maps,
the spine of the compass driving us home.
There is only the anarchy
of leaving, night’s libretto called
from the diva’s throat, songs
we never learned and can’t stop singing.