timothy daniel welch

After the Stroke


your house is on fire

  your children are gone

    all except one

      and the little red beetle bright as the sun


****


My father returns home to a lighted room,


windows flung wide to the evening

letting the insects in.


He stands with shoe in hand

swatting phantom midges, mosquitoes,


shaking the lamp shade;


so many thoughts took wing from the day.


What is killing me? he wonders.

Is it my heart or mind?


I imagine my father among the flies—


one thought clinging to light.





The Wind Shover


A belly of light takes up the sky


then bellies upon the horizon—


and where the city causes a cutting

the ashpits stir


with coal and smoke and starry bone.


Part man, part hat:

the evening drags the earlobe flaps


of either pole toward its dinner

at the mining camp.


One time Helen Vendler took a piss here.


One time the little place burned

its brightest edge


with white-eyed women


staring long upon the phenomenon

of movie houses.


Cirrus and cumulonimbus.  Since names

make small the greatest things,


whatever pushed the brickwork learned

the brickwork pushes back.


And coming around again—

the clouds or nothing, a thousand bats


with ten thousand baby fingernails.