Plum Sea — Michael Robins

for L. S. Klatt

Despite beginning

inside speech’s sake,
one need not dwell

adrift, stopping now
in conversation—

Across the interstate
dare my directions
to a lavish house

Need no return, no

              No sample
on display alone or
unjustifiably pinned

What happens once
is departure—

                        It is
my companion, my
hand spade & garden

Will you in this snow
regard the trailhead,
lonely forest roads

Some winters some
geese make camp—

Forget not the wires
in their feathers over-
head & everywhere

I’ve these orders &
plan making more

Maybe a warm day
belonging next year
for I am awaiting
the mail—

fitting one another,
my words & yours

Across the interstate
also blow the late

Past midnight, then
beyond fine reason

By the sky I flew &
inferring is feeling

          I am pining
cornfields in Iowa

& with nada against
the centipede, you,

your entomology
like text & its fuel
broken from a spine

Someone sends you
factory bones—

fold entirely for red,
snap & buckle tightly

With instruction, a
vacancy stowed—

Dreaming, it’s fill
of decompression &
flame beyond view

Lost behind the hill

& the three egrets
rob three herons
of breakfast—

around me each year
cured within its salt

Smoke shack, a rent
breeding or strewn

Resumed hence there

is no comma, birds or
one finger opposed
to thumbing—

(middle of a syllable)

the breath, my clef’s
resolve in wreckage

Weirder things said,
not i before e but

get younger & never
let sleeping dogs lie

Haven’t I mentioned
flower petals, their

              Haven’t I,
far from your glow
alone, already cast
against unsightliness

I’m awake, thinking
again of Michigan,

beautiful rooms &
lovelier beds—

reverie even shames
the stars, by which
our dung beetles roll

Everything I’d ever
be, shouldered yet
for a voice—

further machinery
in some few ideas

Line direct, directs

Fed down a chain, I
still worry a banner
keeps me marked

Reproaches strained,
imparted or shared

Remain too in being
stranger to this day

Remain also afraid
& able to swerve
a pathway worn

Neurons abound &
for every neuron
its decoy—

                    I’m not
against an equation
imitating the woods

Not seeing a forest
for trees, etcetera

Against a wall, I’m
bent & backwards

I serve trade winds

All diggity & plump,
past remarks these

loons figuring ten,
tremolos & over
they begin—

structure, each eye
of your story bold

In words, stacked
like beaver pelts,

crystal of a pool &
am I ends in glass,
are you—

                 Into heels,
slip them on &, well
feed me your robes

What loose threads
thus far unnoticed

Terminus, weather
problems safely
off to hell—

(read calmlessness)

brick abutting brick
or giganto, wishing
such bridges lifted

Fundamental, much
as the people wear
their gaping flaw

Surely the preamble
cleaner than a door

Burying one’s head
in the snowmelt—

Far from a farmer
& winters counted,
tallied or scored

Plenty to bury once

A canteen, wine &
muddled things, no
capital A, B—

caravans, no chains
of daisies ill-strung

Only an old feeling

Interests adrift, only
swollen into hordes

Interest like thumbs
when nailing—

concocting song, your
ladder-bearing canary

Everywhere you rush
minus another, with-

out the gray cardinals
voicing the ordinary

                  The rain
never out of hand nor
your moody dissolve

If this were a book
I’d hide the seams

Its childhood made
from tree, factory
import & bones

In comfort, others
less so than some

& you not so girlie,
neither me—

still lapping the day,
its secrecy overdue

Groundhogs, their
springy insistence

Still yet time, yet

some picture taken
elsewhere & hung

in the space where
mouths steal skin

This fire’s roaring

& spite (why not),
whoever’s might
tell this—

in which faith or
that anniversary

gone to the drain

Listen, I apologize
for mostly things
& ideas—

                 Hear a
pacing as we make
Cheshire forms &

famous plans neces-
sarily go flying out
over rooftops like

lemons, yellowing

the details, twenty
dollars over Idaho

just like that, just
one day inside me

Often the very day
banks into a clean

          I’m dying or
where I am fading,

what grace, how’ll
my mind fastened
(its wrench) let go

Hobbled, that deer
aglow in a light or

another I’ve yet to
bring up fully, my
daughter dazzled

What new cardinal
off a tree & ahead

She turns my poem
true, no shameful
letting of this go

Known, applauded
so & compelled—

Grace to the lamp
for moths—

                    You say
cloudbursts, liberty
forever in thunder

Honeysuckle glued
to postcards when
opening your jaw

Its hello when we
turn, some snow

               A swan
unfolded, firmed,

irrevocable paper
in time, in which

we swim along its
greenly-lit season

Goodbye life’s few
beginnings: roads,
confettied desire

& no list clarified,
no bucket, no pail

You say plum sea
& following days
I hurry home—

Before my time I
bear vicissitudes,

scribbles paired
as gloves—

the Chicago River,
some nights I tire

I’m naught of this
solid rabbit light
before my time

There is that light
in each adjective
mind you—

ever mammalian,
my first memory
of a hallway lit—

& me into its crib
for years both first
& past—

(every stray face)

               I’m lucky
entering a kilowatt
like love, or often

marrow & strewn

Maybe take down
the blue a notch,

Oregon cloud that
bore me—

long over the ear
tilted & I’ve never

roused in a whorl,
strange filaments
spilling pines—

Tramps in quilts
maybe, footprints
connecting forty-

four months now
plus four hundred

We’ll slug the day
methinks, mined
then moleculed

Spread them tarps
too late—

certain budges like
prevention, echoes

Like stepping into
an other’s room &

not these postcards
pinned to the wall

I have acquired you
the blemish, ever-
lasting in heaven

& nearly shadows
albeit this ledger

Snowy & physical

If I am ghost I am
juncture, pardon,
stirring a dirt—

Eight-point bucks
called by smoke-
stacks & closed

Grown only to be

vertebrae lettered
away & snug, my

It’s okay now go

I will turn forecast
singing & certain,
wiry hindsight &

yesterday is cloud,
is rocket surgery

If jumping some-
times I will settle
into someone else

To patchy grass I
loaned my back,

to waves & waves,

here la la, mother
may I, may I be—

All of my withouts
paid out of pocket

(surely as anyone’s)

Haven’t yet let go
a hammer, your

to taste, an idea of
I can’t remember

Workmanlike yes,
to repeat a word

like “to” or collect
lists in the snow—

Cat, Squirrel, Dog

Dog, Squirrel, Dog

Lid & spin of our
this weather—

This snowfall, its
Grand Rapids &

avalanche & you

Poise is accurate,
who for or what

Some flag buried
on a pole—

a daisy into loam,
not lackadaisically

& remaining near
its copper horse

Friend, the sleep
agreed upon, rest
we said—

                  Now I
wish some thicket

(forgive me, no—)

wish some thicket
alive, okay & after
February endings

Blink, & cardinals

             I thought
I’d tell you more,
even you me too

with disappearing


Michael Robins is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia Books, 2015). He teaches literature and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago.