Three Poems by Jay Deshpande




All morning long I am
alone, and the sky
is as clear and as genius
as the three or four
sparks committed
from my cigarette to the low
wire of a telephone line
and below that, trees.
I think of seaglass
its awful yearning, how
everything gets beveled
to abstraction before
becoming beautiful.
Yet I forget each coin
the wind ever knuckled over
my annotated fingers.
Guilt kicks its dust back
onto my feet. How was it
when I was most full I was
most full of needing.



Dissolution, December


We have lived here fifteen years and we are burning
through the last piles of love and newspaper
clippings the solstice affords, you know today the sun
was supposed to be gentler, each minute turning
to water some icicle the roof dandles and savors
like a lover on a leash, before the dagger drops and runs
us through the heart and saves us. The tree out front
was mulched last week, pulped down and to its stump,
and now the wreckage makes a hummock to be shunted
past the lawn and away, out of sight, while I simper
and clown to my to-do to make it better.
But in the room inside my room a figure
bends and stirs in strangle-light, and in his gloves
I find my hands, and I see my slipping loves.





On some tables
there’s a sign,
& you look
at it like
you look at
the dirt
& rust there.
What you put
in it, vergogna,
your stars
& the lope
of a year,
what years,
what you thought
you just had
to have
inside you
right away.
Can’t we ever
be alone with
what we want to
without looking.
good fleet
tapestry over
June, hovering moon
to the gravel,
those lives
in the sky,
she tells me to
roll my tongue,
my every…