What I like about Ray is
the way he notices the little
things that don’t count toward
the business end of the day:
peeled paint, mossy shingles, pine
needles & cones, the freshly dug hole
& mound of dirt beside the garage —
shovel leaned against the fence.
What I like about a Carver poem
is it reminds me of smoked salmon & blue
cheese, Guinness beer; walking the alley
after dark & running into deer; the way
a patch of snow becomes water dripping
from my nose & eyes, cold burning
like a blister on the palm of my hand;
my wife’s raven hair tossed by March wind.
What I like most about the poet
is his attention to moments
lived & buried; to necessary tasks;
to questions that question the answers . . .
no one else will ask. What I like
about Carver is the way he focuses
on pulsing blood & breath — on waking
& walking through the day: ordering
hunger into words savored long after dark.
— in memory of Raymond Carver