Slowly summer unrivers the village—
yellow dirt, yellow hay,
the fields uncreeked by heat.
Children stitched in stupor
to what shade they can find
don’t even flick at horseflies
squatting on their scabby elbows.
Rubbing greedy hands together,
the flies seem to be counting
money, or praying. Something
by the dry wash has died,
but no one tells the grownups.
Dogs belly-scoot beneath the porch,
their whines the only sound other than
the air, so parched and hot it crackles.
None of the children think,
When I am grown, I’ll go away
and leave this dusty place.
They will, of course, go. But now
they think of nothing as they wait
for dusk to unblue the sky,
spilling vermillion upward
staining everything but the moon,
the faraway yellow moon.
Memory is endless, life very long,
journey of our skeletons, the emptied dish
wedged between two nights.
Body, what else could receive my mind’s transmissions,
born between fog and frost, so many little
tethering tools that loosen at a tug, or ones made of water, wind,
suggesting a storm some miles out to sea.
Scar tissue is visible history,
so I take out a patent on slow-moving fog,
heavy morning fog. We have to look head-on, and learn to forget again
the day hanging by its feet with a hole
from the wall. Please give hope
for the mild southern winter in which nothing dies,
for those small flattish stones so perfect,
for the rock and lull of water,
river’s lesson of concealment. I thought
everything would be perfect if the atoms
of a million-sided die
of what hasn’t yet happened
embrace. I think acquiescence is a beautiful word
for the despairing quality of
knowing what I know:
that time and wish are one
and one, and one, and one.
Sources (by line):
1. Richard Howard, “At 65”
2. Karin Gottshall, “Roanoke”
3. Chad Sweeney, “Parable of Day”
4. Gail Mazur, “Unveiling, Wakefield”
5. Averill Curdy, “Anatomical Angel”
6. Jody Rambo, “I am weatherly and so”
7. Colin Cheney, “Stabat Mater (Marie Curie’s Pitchblende)”
8. Chana Bloch, “The Joins”
9. Michael Dumanis, “Natural History”
10. Dionisio D. Martínez, “Did We Betray the River”
11. W. S. Merwin, “Invocation”
12. Ali Liebegott, “Hope”
13. Katie Ford “What We Get”
14. Galway Kinnell, “Astonishment”
15. Natalie Graham “The Trouble with Water”
16. Karin Gottshall, “The Bog Body”
17. James Richardson, “The Encyclopedia of the Stones: a Pastoral”
18. Craig Morgan Teicher, “Brenda is in the Room”
19. Jane Hirshfield, “Works and Loves”
20. Todd Boss, “Turbulence: Three Exercises”
21. Catherine Pierce, “Poem for Right Now”
22. Joanna Klink, ‘The Graves” from https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/arts/mondays-poem-the-graves-by-joanna-klink/28056
23. Sarah Hannah, “Tread-softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus)”
24. Rae Armantrout. “Propensity”
25. Robert Creeley, “The Plan is the Body”