Creek, Cloud, Cricket
I drove ten hours toward the gravity of mountains
Away from the withdrawing bay and on the other side
of the Cape the sea’s constant worry-beads whirled
In the many-fingered tide. I was home and a long way
From it. I was twenty trash bags tightened one at a time
With old things, stuffed with the past in a dark garage.
I was inert explosive. I was upright. My father’s lips
And eyelids affixed shut, his hands folded, all horizon.
Modest shadow details of sunset on a strange beach.
I was home and alongside the creek I was alongside
When my father spelled out the last word he said to me:
“Yes.” The creekbed’s brushed knuckles just below
The surface of running thought, watered down mountain
wisdom. Summer drifted like a jellyfish. A creekbed
Mumbling yes endlessly. A cloud over a hospital wing.
Ritual shawl over a casket. Spell it out slowly.
Dread lifts lightly like an August wasp. It has its own
Direction and settles according to unseen rules
Of behavior written in the humid afternoon air.
Eventually, after rain, crickets give the all-clear:
It’s too dark to tell if I’m happy or sad. If grieving
Is the rocks or the water, the cloud or the rain,
The pinpoint crickets or the spinning earth.