Visiting van Gogh

Today I stood before your ivy grave

and rained sunflower seeds upon

the soil above your bones.

I baked in your oily, oval sun

until it sank like a shimmering coin

toward a distant slot of horizon.

Crouching in your angry cornfield,

sky blackened with cawing crows,

I sensed the self-damning slug

piercing your granite belly, crippling

your will to live.

 

The little yellow house in which

you dreamed of communion

no longer welcomes your

creative poverty; those who

faced your vulgar rants

have long since fled.

But your gravel roads still crunch

beneath my shoes; the wide scythe

of the Rhône still arcs past

medieval rooftops, blown

bitter by mistral screams

from the jagged Alpilles.

 

You are not in one place, but many.

In simmering, dusty fields, your 

wild wheat eyes hunt like hawks.

In abandoned courtyards, the gray

ash of your extinguished body

grips gnarled roots of cyprus and olive.

Your voice is the weeping wind;

each morning's breath, your breath—

heard more in death than when

the quarry of your anguished spirit

nourished the world.