Chris Dombrowski

Elegy with Fall’s Last Filaments

In the one world

you called twin

tired of being

misidentified how

swiftly you became

the spider mending

each day its

wind-rent web and not

the box-elder beetle you

had been grasshopper

still tearing

at the ties intricate void

bright bardo room

she I call her hangs

like a home light

beneath the eaves and you

would have left her on


All kinds of kindnesses

Luka just two

at noon yesterday

where’d the moon go

daddy    The neighbors’

plums landing ripely

in our lawn    Portrait

of you as webstrand

stretched between

the fences   Sky-

deep lake appearing

halfway into my hike

as if it knew I were

thirsty—sat down

sketched the swale

in one broad stroke

fainter lines for where

the fog had hung

and almost asked

if you’d found

a formlessness yet


to pick a few


marking the soundless



Stir a little

shallows with your

alderleaf archipelagos

branch and cloud

reflections drawn

so crisply I mistake

one white trunk for

the other    Stir

a little sawdust

from the just cut

deadfall firewood

tepeed now above

the tinder I light

before shucking

my shirt and jeans—

things little soul little

stray you used to make

fun of these the last

words you quoted me

asking now where

will you stay?

—and plunging

through the cold lake

body strung with quick-

silver sunlight leaking down

to fill escaping orbs

of air gone as you are

probably no one

joins anyone here or after

you said but perhaps

the silence we’ve

always expected from

the dead isn’t

exactly silence


On surfacing

you want to have

something warm

to sit by tidy

fire tsk-tsking

this entire notion

but easing away

the gooseflesh

the body’s automatic



On the hike out

plucked from a steaming

pile of blackbear scat

a huckleberry still whole

skin unblemished

large pupil in the

vitreous of my palm

who’s watching

mote-midges blurring

through fruitless stems

unadorned lady-

bugs imago mayflies

the illustrious bound for webs

orbiting each other fall’s

last filaments

kept thinking

law versus spirit

what we’re told

versus what we’re

told—no one no

spring to rinse

the fruit only

a watering mouth