Coefficient


Once the crash was over the mocking birds

          scrabbled to fill the morning with noise.

Once, after a brunch of needles, the pastry brown blood

          and the fennel, you brandished


a length of hair at the knocker at the door.  Once,

          after a breaking of limbs you leaned

from the car window and pawed at the ground

          around my feet like a dog at a crime.


Once after the rain came to you like a blanket

          of clover, like a shawl of empty

shoulders, you proclaimed that the future of wood

          was an axe.  We embellished


your waxing fever with polish and the electric

          wood sander for Christmas.  Then,

once you learned to walk again, the lengths of tendon

          reworked into banisters of clean light,


you stole a thimble of milk and every other tick

          of seconds from the clock.  The refrigerator

heaved a stony thrumming, compressing air

          in gasps.  One floor tile at a time,


from the alternating patterns of worn browning cream

          and burgundy scuffs, got up and marched

to the basement in regiments.  Once you parted

          the gift of a mirror into two rooms at once.  When


the devil rang the door bell you scuttled.  Once

          in a romance of broken rocks and asphalt

you went after the redness in a robin with the left over

          steak knives shivering in the drawer.

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