E il suo
Volo di fuoco m’accecò sull’altro

The blurred moon, blanched in the new evening sky,
Amazed me as a child. How could it live
At the same time as the sun, (Downstar
I called it), captured by the melody
That rang out from it, dusk-bright, like a phoenix
Downed in civil twilight. The difference

Between the two, I thought, was difference
Itself: it made things real. But is the sky
Real? Aren’t its blue moments, like the phoenix,
Just the mind’s conjugations of ‘to live,’
Or the brain’s long division of ‘to die’?
Rouge le soir, bel espoir, sings the Downstar

Down night’s starry throat, already elsewhere, Downstar
No more, no longer the sweet difference
Between real and dream I knew. I will die.
I am not a dream. I am not quite real.
I am a dream’s firm ground. And I live
Because they are not what I am. Keep this

Thought for me, Poetry, as the phoenix
Seduces dreadnoughts to strum the Downstar
To sleep, and the skyline’s lights begin to live
Like notes in air; and in that difference,
That sleight of sun, may night remake the torqued sky
And distill dream and real from live and die.

A red cloud, speckled like an amorphous die,
Ferries the Internet’s dead. ‘Off to Phoenix!’;
‘TGIF!’; ‘Double Rainbow!’; ‘Nice sky
Tonight!’; ‘Don’t let this get you down, Starr.’
They speak, spammed or hacked, the indifference
In that act excused in saying, ‘A guy’s got to live.’

I chased the verb with the bird that always lives,
Saddled on its nape as it dove to die,
Its neck arched to the moon. Indifference
Spread through its ash-blond body now phoenix
No more, now part of the ground, now downed star.
Its frame, first feathered by flames, flailed blue. Sky

Swallowed the phoenix, seized round the Downstar,
Sang sky down to the city, burned livid
Until it didn’t, then praised the difference.


Taken from the collection The Ground (2012).

Photograph © theilr

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