Sky, River

This morning, early, you call out
Sky Alert! the old imperative
we use to signal each other—
Leave Everything! and run
to watch the sun burn down
the Hudson, throw fire on water,
melt sky carmine to magenta like a Rothko.
These are the rules—
No one calls out unless they can imagine
nothing more beautiful, and no one, ever
doesn’t come. How many times
did the sky rescue us? Now the river

is the Rhine. The children gone. Barely standing
you hold on to the evidence
of river and sky, call out Fog
thick, the color of tallow, milk, zinc.
Then there’s a dark line of river just below
and the fog is a shade
on the window of the room. You can almost
reach out and lift it.

-- Chelsea