JEFF DOWNEY

QUALIA

Surely I do not understand
even yet

the depths of field
folded into wonder.

The morning light
of a candela

that seems to lift
eyelids.

*

Pyrite,
you are not alone.

Everything has
a fool’s version.

Water-logged limestone,
a fool’s red rock.

Sun-warmed carpet,
a fool’s socks.

*

Slowed down
to aerial,

rainwater lapses
off the road.

A car alarm
trips

and its owner
kicks the fender.

*

It speaks to the tinsel and popcorn
wreath of waiting.

How Colorado and Connecticut protract.
How the birches bowsprit from a hill.

Downed wood hollowing away
inside, leaving

bark like a memo
in a typewriter.

*

It reads, “One another is a beautiful phrase
after such a long year.”

It reads, “The jays green screen
their nest together.”

All else, a drop cloth
of movement

that couldn’t possibly
matter.
 
 
 
 
PSALM

Westminster Chimes plays
throughout the night,
or it plays briefly
on my restlessness on the hour.

It is the freeze-thaw cycle
in consort with maple.
It is the uneven sidewalks
the neighborhood put to vote.

Fast to sunlight,
a silkscreen of the world
is not enough.

So late of me, so of late
of things, sorry,
and now how tacky.

It is neither Hollywood
nor the mosquito fogger’s golden era,

but where there is a man in a black derby,
then there is a frequent subject.

And where there are cedar brakes in a western,
then there is a great deal less danger.

I stare at the ceiling with tinnitus,
unadjusted to the light I switched off.

Head there. Take a train.
Or better yet, take a dulcimer.



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