Something to Work With

I open the locked chest of your death
and inside find mine, and others,
like Russian dolls, smaller, till the deaths
recede to a single dot, if recede is the right
           Words come unraveled. Not the nice,
dead words we use as bridges to one another. 
They endure like steel, supporting meaning. 
What a lovely day, for instance,
and Did you sleep well
           But say death,
and the horizon disappears, nothing above
nothing below, nothing. Like stepping
into a blank February morning. 

I am trying to be brave, planning to go as far
as I can with what I’ve got, but it’s almost
nothing. No stone fence, no shadow running
along it, no rabbit frozen on the lawn
beside the fence. I’d like a little something
to work with, even the carcass of an old barn,
sunk to its armpits in a field. 
           Deep in earth
water locks its doors. Before me,
a flashlight carves a few yards of my journey
like a miner digging away the darkness.  end