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David Zeltzer


almost-spring snow!
pale glow of a snowy night
snow piles up on the porch rails
ariel wide-eyed watches puffs of white
chase across the driveway,
little boy wrapped tight in the arms of a man
on the warm side of the windows,
the walnut tree
maple, magnolia,
downy buds now frozen.
old grape canes need cutting soon.

1. the face
i want to tell you
i love you,
i want
the clarity of water
between us . . .

amazed am i
when i stop and turn away!

for you are a vision,
a demon,
a clear and perfect rose!

2. the memory
in a candles eye there burns a mystery
a sadness an empty mouth a hope
in your eyes a mountain rises up from youth–
ful folly, standing certain on the brink
of the abyss.

in the moment of a wave
a memory, a distant
love collapsing on the sand
we understand our limits
are truly what we make them

3. the reconstruction
when once i saw the laughter in the earth i knew the air was made
to love you,
O today i have not died as much as yesterday,                                                                          
                                                                                     dear woman who can break
once i stole the goblet from your heart
for you are truly rain
your eyes are not your eyes
and i a mountain rising up from youth
i stole what was once your heart
and i heard what once was your voice:
an empty mouth a sadness
a clear and perfect rose!

time is heavy as the pearls
like hanged men
strung across your breast.
time is heavy,
i turn away.

i want to tell you that our hands eat ice,
O knife,
O street that has no name

once you miss my broken ammunition
my months of cloudy shame
my mother holding me
i see your brutal hand

your rapid breathing orchids
shimmer softly on the plain
how many times i miss
your other ocean

lying sweetly in the sun
you found the beetle
empty vanished flowers
inside me

your sudden silent daggers
stroke me softly in the morning
so afraid your lonely palm
will sleep tomorrow

a spider’s web is a therapeutic eye
you said filled with comfort
lost in ancient dew i can’t

believe this fog of past ages so i
went to the store with our daughters so far away
and got some thriving affection

warm arms sprawl on the shoreline
your voice humbles me
one jazz flower i could never imagine

1. A vast silence
If I could sing to you now I would
I want you near me as I breathe
The snow mountain rising behind your smile
An eagle circling above the water
We reach through bitter darkness for each other
You were hidden, and your suffering confused me
The shallow rocky ocean is warm and surprising

2. Please don’t go
I walk into the room where the hotel owner was killed
My daughter was visiting and you went away
You went away.  Please don’t go.
You wanted me to say that but I couldn’t.
It was so cold by the open window
Where your papers are piled up
Next to your brave memory

3. A secret
Sometimes Hebrew words
Crack open a secret wound
It’s not secret now if I can tell you
What I need to hear and say to you
It’s been so long since we whispered to each other
I’m inside and I can’t hear you
Will you open a flower one of these days?

4. I remember the confusion
I remember the confusion
You were hurting and I was hurting you
I was forever sorry, and I went to the movies
Where I was so afraid of being alone
On a bed in Sweden we made love in the afternoon
On a sunny beach with you I felt like I had everything
So many times, so many times, your arms around me

5. Your breast
Your breast is a warm and comfortable thrill
It is morning and I can see you sailing away
Under the covers, and I am not alone
If I put my arm around you now
I remember the paper I signed
Saying I wouldn’t touch you until this evening
When the room is filled with tiny fish and glittering clouds of dust

6. That suitcase
I looked at that antique suitcase again and again
I climbed on the rocks until I fell all the way down
The stairs to a door that never opened
My heart opened to the sky and your prophetic words
We went together to tell everyone but they were not where we left them
How beautiful the road you travel over and over
There is no music but your voice

we know this power
together, simple things
we trust and can imagine
morning sunshine on your body

touching anyone this candle finally lovely
your hip your fluid lonely motion
missing you i think no loneliness
this stunning time without you

drink me through the night
back and forth in time
i open all the parts i know from touch
this is it

A tiny suspension bridge nestled in the green hillside
If I remember Norway I cry
We missed the little bird in the boat
The car that left us behind

Over the many racks empty of drying fish
I forget that a beautiful daydream once cost me
Your name and white rocks
The fountain bubbles mercilessly as your childhood seeps in

We were like that too in Italy
As you held me crying in your arms
The street noise obliterated any chance to kiss you
And the morning bird song fled

1.  the river
waiting by the side of the river
stones and leaves, little floating
twigs fill me with a deep deep sleep
i dream of you

who is watching me? what
breezes blow these dust specks in
the sunlight? i will always watch
the water tumble and play

the sound of the river is like your voice
endless splashing, tiny fish, skittering insects
i will listen for a long time to these riddles
lily petals drift by

2.  bolt of lightning
i never saw the single bolt of lightning
you were not there yet

behind me ghastly storm clouds
the rocket lifts off now

with thoughts of you and kindness
silent birds who don’t know what to say

you tell them my name
i can’t say the square is filled

with chirping birds
the heaving waves i sigh beneath

3.  the miner’s cave
how i gouge this tunnel
through your hidden earthy stories
slither dark and secret burrows
death’s grateful cavern filled with jewels

the bear so graceful heavy climbing over logs
nighttime fire keeps us
safe and longing dawn
surprised a deer

like peaceful thoughts
distract us from lost
trail sheer rock walls
i hear you singing by my side

4.  heartbeat
you watch yourself die
your child draws you back to us
your drumming heart
so different in the morning sun
how grateful i am to know you
after all you’ve told me
the room, the doctors, the flatlining monitor
your heartbeat ended now

you fear no death
your mysterious heart
is my beacon

5.  the broken country
this tiny knife will cut you
as i walk the ancient moor.
from the farthest star a signal
will light the way inside you

the broken countryside is
sleeping now
you always sleep
while oceans drown

whole plains twist
empty seas and valleys one
bicycle, one child, one car

one breath is all i hope for

6.  on approach
my love a string of pearls on approach
a necklace strangling
wind, music, breath
a chorus of confused wishes

muffled sound behind the wall
if i disappear without a trace
who will ever know the music was so
clear this morning


7.   your house
what if i went to your house
and it was everywhere

how many answers
only one did i say to you

but i forget how many times i answered
or how you sang to me so many times

i will travel to the other ocean again
and when i come back

where will i find you

8.  cry in your arms
i want you to stroke
the frozen flowers and
blame me for forgetting that
you touch me under water

i listen for your breathing down there
your breasts like graceful dolphins
dream until i stroke you
a peaceful happiness that ends

in the marshland
i cry and wonder
why i told you
how long we can do this