The thing about juggling—what no one really knows—is that it has no clear definition. Not unlike some people. What is it, really? Is it art or entertainment? Reality or illusion? One thing is certain: you must never take your eyes off the balls, not for a moment. For if you do—if you look away, say, at something that’s coming at you…then everything falls.

Rodney (to Audience), Juggling with Mr. Fields

In twin chairs by the lakeside tonight
we’ve watched day’s last light

spread like a bright blush over treetops
past the point where cabins stand

abandoned, sealed against winter.
In the middle distance the island floats,

fading. There alone the wild blueberries
hang like unmarked globes over water

separating shore from shore.
Why they grow there but not here

puzzles, like love or the coming bereavements
of autumn, or rumors of empty, drifting skiffs.

For now at least the island remains
part and not part of the unknowing night

as we are to each other
island and mainland, ship and shore,

a familiar place; a mystery.

Anniversary, Exclusions & Limitations

I never understood the expression “heavenly bodies.” Because a) they’re not bodies, and b) they’re not in Heaven. Heaven’s a place we can’t see until we get there. If we get there. If it even exits.

Danita, Quasars

She is making herself and not herself
anguish dressed in baroque repose,

a motionlessness that is never still,
arranged, betraying nothing

the restrained line of an eyebrow or lip,
the arc of a neck, the skillful reflection

of a sleeve of the moon-white gown
in the olive-green water

gradually assembled, balanced there
in this unexpected moment,

this small world holding its breath.

from Susanna and the Elders, White

When I was a kid I had a pitchback. I’d throw the ball to it, and if the pitch was right, it would come right back to me and land in my glove. If the pitch was wrong, the ball would end up on the lawn, rolling away. Other people are like that, I think: They’re like a pitchback. You throw your stuff at them, and if it’s right or good enough, it’ll come back to you in some way, and you’ll be changed. Of course, sometimes someone steals your pitchback, or it breaks, and you don’t know where to pitch the ball. There’s just a mass of open air before you. So you go out, and get a new one. It isn’t the same as the first one— they never are—but it’ll have its own beauty, its own tensions, its own lovely form. And when you pitch to it, if you do it carefully, it’ll respond, and pitch yourself back to you, and you’ll know who you are. Again. If you ever knew.

David (to Audience), Paranormal Love