February still life
Rain. Which coastal town was I dreaming
last night we’d moved to where the rain
comes with a bookmark of the ocean
and the snow apologizes when it alights on dunes
with the sound of regret? The color of change
on change. Wrapping my head around how one
impermanence devours another
is like leaning on a dune fence:
its weakness is what makes it impossible
To climb or cross. Its effect is staying
In place in a place where no lines hold.
The horizon balances no books. Flat pasts
slide away, pages of undertow. Words too
late to change the page fall as I’m reading it. Rain.
The wind let me live
The wind let me live
By not arriving. The ten thousand
wheels of the highway had stopped
And we sat on its back, still
As food in cans. And the dark
Grew quiet as we killed
Our engines to save fuel.
Mere hours away
The sirens set
Apart each moment in its stillness:
Duration’s blue and red lights.
They bounced off the neighbors’ houses
And into the distance, arriving
At some place where there was
No distance, and the aftermath
Of that. Then the windless rain
Like a chorus that is the song
Of the end of shape. Where will
I be when the one drop of rain
That is my life, descending with the rest,
Bursts against the earth, no longer
The same but exactly the same,
As many molecules as the stars
in a gathering puddle whose surface
riddled by wind reflects the sole
Of a child’s new sneakers
Before a Spring Storm
Who am I in the porch’s silence
Before the storm? A song
Of any more sense
Than mindless wind chimes?
They say merely ‘something is happening’
Good or bad it is the same thing
Until something drowns them out
Knocks them down or finishes
Happening their silence means
Not that nothing is happening
Because nothing cannot happen
Nothing is not phenomenal any
Wind chime could tell you but rather
That whatever may be
Happening is not moving them
Nevertheless they have enough
To say right now as cloud shadows
Chase light back into the sun
And knowing nothing really goes
Backwards I’m listening for the storm
To sing a song that chases
Rain faster forward into flower
Thunderheads cover the western sky
As I drive down the mountain.
The lightning shoots out, four or five bolts
At a time, some cascading to earth,
Others quilting clouds together
Into a single silent storm.
For here there’s no sound.
Only as I drive into town does a soft
Rain begin to fall.
As if someone were fighting their inner demons
And projecting it to the sky for everyone to see,
Even though it was happening only in a hallway
Of a small house somewhere.
And from that struggle comes that softest
Rainfall which does no damage
And from which lilies will bloom anew,
And peonies, and dandelions and a thousand
Things unnoticed in the grass.
And now through a window of open sky
The smallest hint of sunset on one cloud’s edge,
And the calming cool breeze that tucks
The entire town in is the result
Of that struggle, won or lost
And hidden somewhere behind
A single blind.
Sometimes in the same way Ohio rain meanders
below Akron and Canton casually beyond Caldwell and
into West Virginia stopping in Charleston for a change
of luck and then on slowly eastward and along sharp ridges
to this Valley becoming a fine mist on my shoulder as
only a memory catching its breath can before moving
on with the ease of a spoken sentence between strangers
about the weather, one on vacation, one on the way
to work but with a moment to spare in the passing mist
for the soft vowels of hello, so before the clearing wind
I feel what moves me also moves along this way, resting
when it reaches me like a mist on my shoulder,
like the lightest part of a vast weather that decides to stay
until evaporation pulls me up too and a new entirety moves on
To Be Read While Walking in the Rain
All grief to the ground must go
and joy, and birds, and every step
taken forward or back is the right
and wise step, and leaves and light
from the center of the moon between
us, and our lives which are air upon
air must settle in a single eventuality, and
from the ground swells always
up through my shoes this love
yearning for the sky’s response
On the Source of the River
On the mountain rain falls, snow melts.
The source of the river is the sky.
So it is that the source of love is not within reach
But flows over me and carves my every direction.
The source of the river is the spring. So it is
That I can never go back to the source of love
but it spends itself constantly on my behalf;
So it is that the very earth is between us
but the very earth gives a way to us in the shape
of a river. The source of the river is a bog.
Like energy, love has no direction. It can be hidden
as potential until the porous ground can hold
no more and it breaks into acceleration
embanked by our lives, carrying us beyond
ourselves towards a wider body evaporating into the sky