A Love Poem for Past & Future Squeezed Tightly into Now

by Sam Rasnake

                       “a treasure for the poor to find”

                                    — Townes Van Zandt, “If I Needed You”


Winter is here with its bitter, prophetic rage.

The cattle, huddled under trees, know what to do.

Smoke rises along the road to the lake.

At the bottom of the well, cool water over dark.

And the years blur past us, a streak of frames

in motion telling yet another story.


I've heard your voice


             If I needed you


showing the muscle in my chest the way — your eyes a window,

your hands a truth as you talk me through the night.


Birds are stirring. Sunrise over the ridge colors the wind —

the field an easel, the fence a brush, your words are mountains,

a tremble of leaves over the ground


             Would you come to me


in the whatever of the whenever — if is a lonely place.


I know pain waits for me, and silence will open its beautiful head.

Before the room empties, before the bits of talk fall to the floor

then disappear, before these walls echo dreams

under rocks in the river east of here,

you can tell me — you can tell me one more time

the hole inside of everything — your breath on my cheek

to keep my eyes from closing.


You'll touch my hand


             I would swim the sea


and the stars at midnight will be my only map.