On Wanting

On the drive home, the road narrows
to a point that ends at the water. Mine
is the last turn before the shingled house,
the one whose blue never got completely

painted. At dusk: sometimes the twin
dark-circled eyes of raccoons, caught
in the headlights. The bellows of frogs
by the river, where students dangle

their feet from the rocks and pass
smokes, their tips glowing in the dark.
It is the summer of sad gardenias,
funereal intoxication of rosemary

grown in rows in place of a fence.
It is a summer barely begun,
yet already full of news: fire
and death, people leaping

from burning buildings, men
holding their slashed throats
on trains, still blubbering
love. At night the solar

lights come on, a blue
string of them that we wound
around and around slats of wood,
against whose backs we rest

on the deck. And here
is that kingdom of clover
and crabgrass, their endless
conjugations standing up

to the tyranny of the blade.
If only I knew their secret for increase,
if only I had their confidence for filling
every boundary with riot. What is wealth?

I call to the birds that come and drop
their surplus of wrong answers on the leaves’
broad ledgers. And still I am only one,
blessed and unblessed, quarried with ink.

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