The Confines

I pace the confines
checking fences that the rain
will someday wash away.
Stepping in the dark,
save the menial light
mined from deep rock
by men built up with dust
of years beneath the earth
and sent along the lines.

I float like smoke here,
without an animating flame
or wind to carry me away
while biting words pitch
back and forth between
lovers from abandon days.
In all my anxious wandering
I am incense without someone to please
filling borrowed space.

A thousand branches
lean one half inch each
connecting with the next.
But this brief shadow
of some greater thing
remains at bay, leaving me
to my own defended patch
of ill-cut grass and dandelions-
who, in old age, have given up
their blast of yellow
for a thinning grey.

And this is life
without the sun
without someone
with only my designs.
And in the day
I will retreat to burrow
into another borrowed place.
I will pretend that all my work
of evenings past and those to come
is worthy of some gratitude,
from whom I do not know. 

Unless.  Unless there is
some greater way
that pulls me to the grumble
of the autos on the streets,
some necessary meeting
of the gunshots far away.
Unless I find myself
between the blows
of lovers lost, and strangers' steam. 
Unless I become the borrowed one
used in greater grace
alive and bright
with fire and life 
beyond my self and place.