A Muse, by Reginald Shepherd

He winds through the party like wind, one of the just
who live alone in black and white, bewildered

by the eden of his body. (You, you talk like winter
rain.) He’s the meaning of almost-morning walking home

at five A.M., the difference a night makes
turning over into day, simple birds staking claims

on no sleep. Whatever they call those particular birds.
He’s the age of sensibility at seventeen, he isn’t worth

the time of afternoon it takes to write this down.
He’s the friend that lightning makes, raking

the naked tree, thunder that waits for weeks to arrive;
he’s the certainty of torrents in September, harvest time

and powerlines down for miles. He doesn’t even know
his name. In his body he’s one with air, white as a sky

rinsed with rain. It’s cold there, it’s hard to breathe,
and drowning is somewhere to be after a month of drought.