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.