The Third Person


Not smoke but the shades of smoke, and not cloud-work
but the gray and smoke-green densities of clouds—
if he were sure their voices would carry through
the acre or more of underbrush and scrub

he’d call her name and stand still listening.
How can he be sure? He is tearing through the
needle locusts and grapevines, the heavy leaves
in decay over the crusted muds and mulch.

It’s nearly dark, December, at four-thirty.
The woods are thick with distance, smoke-gray, growing
cold. He is trembling. We see his breath as slight
relief against the trees and smoke around him.