POETRY Separation at Burnt Island ... D. NURKSE
“Separation at Burnt Island”
From Burnt Island (2005)
Brothers and sisters, who live after us,
don’t be afraid of our loneliness,
our dented wiffle ball, the little kerf
the dog chewed in the orange frisbee.
Don’t grieve for our kite; not the frayed string
that clings to your ankle, not the collapsed wing.
We lived on earth, we married, we touched each other
with our hands, with our hair that cannot feel
but that we felt luxuriously, and with promises.
We made these bike tracks in the sand
—don’t follow them—and this calcined match head
is the last statue of our King.
We lived between Cygnus and Orion,
resenting the blurriness of the Pleiades,
in a house identical to its neighbors—
stepwise windows, ants never to be repelled,
TV like a window into the mind
that can't stop talking, redwood deck
facing the gulf.
Everything was covered with sand: the seams
of the white lace dress, the child’s hinged cup,
the watch (even under the crystal), the legal papers.
We were like you, or tried to be. We divided our treasures
(a marble with no inside, a brooch from Siena),
signed our names with all our strength, and went home
in two directions, while the marriage continued
without us in the whirling voice of gulls.