Closer Now to Blindness in Early Spring

I see only sky as it disappears the birds—
you say they’re sparrows, you say maybe wrens,

and I think beauty never minds the almond blossoms
that have already undressed the branches

and lie rumpled in the orchard.

And when we head into the meadow
through ancient oaks, I walk into the long blue grass

trying not to say it—beautiful,
though it is,

though I’m trying to believe I can sense the river
when I can’t,

when the thicket and border and bramble
complicate the lateness of the hour.

You know the way

but have let me wander as far as I need
down deer trails past coyote tracks.

And when we stop to listen, you understand
the meadowlarks’ song

marks where their yellow breasts
necklaced in a black V

have disappeared

into the darkness of me.
Hard to call beauty an affliction, but I think it is

what makes my blindness hurt.
You take my arm, lead us along the river’s trail,

the muscular going of water under a waning moon—
not disappeared, but yes, beauty

as a curse, that it must be carried like this
now, fainter,

slivered smaller than it was last night.