Rob Shapiro

Nocturne Preceding Snow

Wind summons voices
out of the trees, then draws

all moonlight across the hills.
When evening empties

its pockets and paints
every element a different shade

of blue, I build an altar
inside your shadow until

our bodies river together—
iron and heat, bright passage of stars.

A Rabbit Runs Across My Grave

after Michael McGriff

At the end of one life, I disappear
           inside a country with two skies—
I measure each day by the sun’s glare
           roosting in windows, the hydrangeas

sold down the street. Evenings, I return
           to myself, crossing bridges of light
while my image passes back
           with the tide, a flower pressed

between dark pages of river and sky.
           And do you feel it then, how my life
clarifies inside the hush
           of rushing water, becomes the sound

of your breath rising in sleep:
           acolyte of rain, priestess of night.

Pantomime Of Spring

I throw my voice into ditches
lined with crosses, empty tubs
of paint thinner, flower beds blooming
too early, and which will die too soon.
I throw my voice into this late hour
which makes a wick of each treetop
and leads a horse’s shadow across
the river’s lip. I throw it toward
whatever I love: muddy sky and rising pond.
Gallery of ancient fish. All the violets that will bloom
regardless. I throw it into the past until it rattles
among cemetery rows and unswept rooms
I know by heart. I think of god
coming down and want to be the echo
of each footfall. I throw my voice
to the end of my life and what comes back
is bird chatter, dog whimper, a bow drawn
across a cello’s neck. What comes back
is rain falling. An empty field.

November Spell II

Not even the hills could dream
of a season beyond this one,

but the day’s elements feed back
into the pond’s green mind

and recede with morning’s chill.
Like dove wings, already our time

is clipped: the sleep-faded sky
and its tapestry of light

shoulder the little garden
beyond our kitchen window

where, just now, the last flowers bow
and take the names of our dead.

ROB SHAPIRO received an MFA from the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. His poetry has appeared in AGNI, New England Review, The Southern Review, Ecotone, Prairie Schooner, where his work received the Edward Stanley Award, and Narrative Magazine, where he won third place in the Below 30 Contest. He lives in New York City.

Read more by Rob Shapiro

Author’s Website
Poem on Poetry Daily
Poem in Narrative Magazine
Poem in The Missouri Review Online