Michael Fallon

A Saturday Morning in June
for Ruth

Out of all the selves I could have been
Out of all the times I could have lived in
Out of all the solar systems, cities, towns,
Neighborhoods, I came to be walking down
St. Paul Street on a Saturday morning in June
And the whole day stopped, still as noon
Just as you lifted your head from a rose,

Looked at me, and said hello. My bus rode
By and paused at the corner, but I let it pass.
As we stood and talked waist deep in flowers,
As our shadows leaned away, I never asked
The time, not even later when we spent hours
In your study drinking tea. This portended
Well. That conversation has never ended.



O the impermanent stain of yellow light
As the day goes, the mood that flows umber
With the drifting tint of clouds
The sun climbs a brick wall. The wall magnifies
The sounds of motorcycles, ambulances,
The soft curses of the Bolivians on the scaffolding
Painting the window frames, the endless conversation of the biologist
And the aspiring opera singer smoking their Marlboros
On the firescape. What does it mean to be high?
The birds of the mind are set free—to scree
And arc, so high in vautling space, a box of chimney swifts
Suddenly opened into all that blue above the busing
And the trucking.  No matter how we try,
We cannot stay long in that joyful air,
For the sun must go down and
We’ve run out of wine.


Among Mourning Doves

I sit in the garden with her
Among mourning doves,
The scent of honeysuckle,
The violet petunias, the hibiscus
With its huge red blooms.

Nothing pleases her.
She wants to cry.
I wish she would cry.

What can I say to her
That she will believe?
I could take the tips of her fingers
In my hands and say,

Someday, it will be better.
I could tell her I love her
But this she knows. I say it
Anyway. She nods in silence,
Eyes closed.

I say it is hopeless, hopeless,
But what, after all,
Is the alternative?
We have to live.

Why? She asks,
Why must I?

What can I say to my sadness
Who I love like no one can?
How can I leave her
Comfortless, inconsolable?

I ask myself as
I close the gate and
Walk out into the night,

And tell my pain
To the first young stranger I meet,
What terrible grief!
 He says in sympathy and
Nods a sorrowful head.

When I return very late,
The garden is empty,
And as I lie down alone
In my too wide bed,

I know her tears will
Fall upon his neck,
Her arms lock tight
Around his heaving chest.

What will he say to his sadness,
Who now looks up into his eyes?
Loves him like no one.


Long Needle Pine

climbing up
the black rungs
of branches,
sap sticky
on your palms,
until those
topmost twigs
thinner than
a thumb, and
standing there,
head poking out.
The tree tossing
in the wind
makes a loud
begins to

© Michael Fallon

Michael Fallon’s poems have appeared recently in Northeast Narrative, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, and The Connecticut River Review and will soon appear in Illuminations. He is the author of 3 collections of poetry, A History of the Color Black published by Dolphin-Moon Press in 1991; Since You Have No Body, winner of the Plan B Press Poetry Chapbook Competition and published in 2011, and The Great Before and After published by BrickHouse Books in 2011.

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