Lovely for Michael Macklin

by Betsy Sholl

Bird flash too quick to sketch it
   I’d have to rush the line, long dash

like wind riffling the paper I am
   almost out of,

its thin blue bars already filled
with ink blot, blotch,

not hammer dance, dark ale,
voice of mud shine and tweed

not you with man purse, beret,
   blue truck, big dog, more hair

than you knew what to do with.
   Crow man, bunion foot, more heart

than your body could hold,
   what’s left is the spirit whiff of you

your words contain, put down
   on rumpled sheets that say, Lovely,

lovely as it is, don’t mistake
   the sign for the place it names,

for the mystery it can’t.
   But Michael, passing Shays,

or that street by the dairy where
   you’d park, forgive me my dogself

that still would rather look at
   your rough fat knuckled finger

than what it was
   always pointing to.