after William Degouve De Nuncques

Nocturne in the Royal Park, Brussels

Left, right, straight on, fawn paths
separate grassbeds. This
modular labyrinth
blues to a fur of woods

a few blocks down that, when
approached, resolves into
identical uprights.
If you are lost, it is

your own muzz you’re lost in.
Everything’s ordered here,
illuminated by
white blobs hung from the trees,

as if they’d known you’d jump
their palisade, explore
their geometrical
night with its glut of moons.


Swags of fir hold night in,
mothball it underneath
hefty material,
make a space where the birds

can scratch in the soft floor,
unsheave their tailfeathers’
radiance, shivering
the starched lace in the gloom

that drains the blues and greens,
leaving these silvery
nightgowned apparitions
like the ghosts that scared you

as a child – not the dead
but ruffled gatherings
of haberdashery
with eyes sewn in the skirts.

The Pink House

This is the long night called
the nineteenth century,
cultivated darkness,
the stone lamp of a house.

Its flame shines through the walls,
reddish. Outside, crouching
between rhododendrons,
you watch the blinds light up,

a few stars in the black
foliage, like sugar,
granulate overhead.
Some have spilled on the lawn.

A lodge or new wing
invents itself, windows
emerging sullenly.
No one will let you in.

The flesh of this house glows
with a familiar
boneshadowed abstractness:
a torch pressed to the palm.

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