[After Maggie Smith’s Good Bones]

To make a place of beauty:
First make the maker beautiful
or at least not so ugly.
For that, first, find another who sees
you’re beautiful.
And for that, first, make another beautiful
in your eyes.
And for that, first, make both eyes
as vulnerable as children
loving fearing everything that’s seen.
Then make your vision
visible so your children see you
have held back nothing.



We travel together, companions
On separate pilgrimages, praying
To separate gods, alone
In our closeness, smiling
Without sharing the funny, certain
Of timely arrival, indifferent
To prophets, adventures, and miracles, blind
And busy as insects underground.


The seeds you planted so long ago
Have flowered in my heart,
Made friends with worms and bees.

The long summer you tended me,
The sun gentled, the dust settled
By your fierce kindness.
But the autumn blossomed into winter,
The way our days unfold
Toward death.

The young need loving,
And the old know that nothing
Feeds the hungry young
Earth like yourself.


I am an American
visiting America
from far away,
where I live now.

The billboards, vitrines, and passersby
do not speak to me anymore,
if ever they tried.
It’s hard to remember.

The streets are full of blare
and bustle whose logic tastes
of nostalgia—and the where
of here no longer feels quite
like a place.


I want to turn to you
and ask about this line
of words that has just turned
over and awakened
something slumbering in me,
something ready to be unsettled
from its rest or its nest–
something native ready
to turn expatriate.


Je veux comprendre
vos rires, votre concorde si habile;
je veux vous joindre
et sourire quand un sillage
des mots vous tous entrain…
mais je vois bien
les travaux que vous avez fait
pour monter
et partager
vos sourires limpides.


Il y a un creux ici,
un creux
inside of me
And inside this conversation–

avez-vous le remarqué ?

there is a quietness working
to stay
et fait la badinage
with you.