I watch your approach through the door
the way
I used to watch the weather coming
through that dark rift in the
mountains years ago:
the shadows in the valley running
hard beneath the clouds;
they coursed over everything, unstoppable
as the velvet left hand
of a plague.
Troops and troops of them
under the sun.

My fingernails now, ragged
as the clouds,
shift across your back.
Beneath your weight
I could be whittling
diamonds in the dark,
crusading agates, emeralds,
steel . . .
Beneath your weight
A vein has been opened:
the years fall in like
taken from behind.