when it goes up here it's really gone.
It's good when it is, we think, because
every star's a cause
shell casing at a crime scene
tortoiseshell with a rind of salt
from the last visit to the water
and the more you push on those skybound bursts
they start to cool and fade.
We know their dimming best
as history, the past, the dead's
best shot at us every night in memory.
Some nights they give permission
for you to continue on.
Others they refuse.
The trick is knowing when to give it up,
recuse yourself to watching the world's
silence, feeling superior,
not the Lake, though you've felt that way too,
icewash and mascara, whitecap ears
and weather, the uncountable sunk stormed dead.
Other nights you're Michigan,
the Erie floorboards of dreams, Huron
a hundred times, hearing things,
the echoes of blacktop, Adrienne Rich,
dark hard scars, ears in jars,
and blackness with chance of Carolyn Forché and little threat of star.
a mouth, a bowl of mouths, soggy, sagging into frown, an infirmary
It's a fault, this solipsism:
you always feel like the world is here
and here only, that all is all that you can see.
You can see it's stupid.
But how to believe in anything
outside of vision, hush,
when everything you see and say
is slowly pressed away
in the data wash?