Temple Problem

The temple spans most of the hillside 
where we dance.  We dance singly 
or in pairs.  Sometimes in small groups.  

Through the day and night, 
itís dancing.  We lean 
against each other.  We fall 

in our terrible dancing 
that drags us around in the torchlight. 

The Furniture in the Room

There are several ways to be.  Several words then 
for wine, for tables and chairs.  The sad, liberating moment 
when you understand why things fell apart, 
the instant you realize things are falling apart 
and the last-ditch, desperate effort 
to keep them together.  This may be the reason 
you no longer remember the mountain of sand, 
the rock forming a close juncture
as answers to questions no one is asking.  It was already over 
by the time we found it.  Another, older example 
from probability theory illustrates a variant 
of the idea.  The people are talking about 
what theyíre reading.  The goal is not to stop them.  Theyíre out 
on their spiritual landscape, and everything smells like Christmas, 
like a sunset or an urn.  Every year
is a great year, all red and green.  Itís a scenic overlook, 
a futuristic joke wardrobe of how it feels to be you 
deprived of what we keep saying we want even as weíve this 
growing suspicion we donít after all.  Everyone 
has their own working definition of long nights.  On how to dwell 
in fear.  All eyes on you.  The newest theory 
is that robins can see earthís magnetic field.  Itís about food, 
and the distance between the beginning 
and a chain of relay stations.  Tonight 
my love, all things that happen hoard your forgetfulness, 
and spread out in a function 
over the oncoming traffic.  Whose bargain is it going to be 
then?  Whose garage sale?  Pewter matador . . .  
Red flamingo . . . ?  They may be considered prophetic 
as a smoldering terrain advances, clouding 
the estuaries, the places we find to place the cameras, 
the chorus, the men with walkie-talkies.  

John Gallaher co-edits The Laurel Review. His newest book of poetry is Your Father on the Train of Ghosts, co-authored with G.C. Waldrep.