Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finding the Footprints of Harm


What anyone may call a good walk waits,
a last bit of measuring I take today.

Like breaths in a temper, or sheep to sleep, I’ve counted
steps from the click of the house door, down the slate stairs.

My time passes in how used the toys are:
The yellow plastic trike with the push handle

is freshly discarded, outgrown. When the children are young,
one day has twenty smiles, or thirty.

And when their suits stretched, too small, we said they were
eighteen months, because they had no years.

It seemed forever before their feet held them.

I can not tell how long
I have tried remembering when the small things changed.

Yesterday, you fell only twice. You said, “God!”
You said, “no, no, no,” and I am still surprised.

You said, “I am too young to feel this old!
What did I do in my last life that left me like this?”

And I have no idea what is going on, I have used
up all of my schooling, and now put my imagination into

stamina. We are outside the city limits, and I am lost.


There is self-examination, interrogatory
contradiction in harming to stop harm.
Sera, re-breaks, traction, chemotherapy, torture.

And you would spread open your own breastbone
Looking for a warm heart that is completely unknowable,
(the adversary is alive in God’s stead.)

Slink with the alien abductor, (to know what they know.)
Fly on the Sabbath night (to see! to see!)
Find yourself in the gray bridal gown, stalking a misunderstood prisoner.

There is no charm, there grows no bane for the unnamed harmer.
The witch and the werewolf are called out of their night’s sleep
to fight for the crops, and the side of right, in Jesus’ army.

Just so, chronic pain is a molester during rest.
A woman may take canis lupus as a totem into her hands,
even as grip gives way in neurological deterioration:

The terror is living by choice.
Forcing a twisted limb into your chest should look like
transcendent reclusion, but it is merely how angels are modeled into statues.


Rain continues to fall and I am
ashamed of my naiveté.

Let me give you the dead of winter:
ice sadly parts for the cold rain,
that later impishly freezes and grips.

Attend the blackbirds,
we can ignore them no longer.

See the wing print they leave
Sweeping into the garden--
angels of death without season.

Pitiless as the morning star, blackbirds
are the only living thing in the stiff January skies.

Eating the old seeds, huddled under gusts,
They bark at dawn, skim low and
dawdle in the road.

The rain stops.
The blackbirds go on.


About things we make together:
children, opinions, a peaceful view
of falling birches beyond the patio door;

More often, I am agreeing with the dog.
When you are away, he waits by the door,
and howls his reprimand when you come home.

Come home. Even if it is to retrieve
a thing forgotten --
When you go, return.

1 comment:

Jean said...

This passge:
Yesterday, you fell only twice. You said, “God!”
You said, “no, no, no,” and I am still surprised.

at first read I thought you were decribing the children of eighteen months, sixteen months, beginning to speak.

then today it hit me: the same words spill out after a careless fall or cut of the knife.

what makes you such a gifted artist is your ability to desribe both things (likely more) in tandem .

what assures me of your talent is that all the great important puffed up people who call themselves poets and take great pride in describing one particular thing in one particularly fashionable conceit could not begin to appreciate this gift let alone ape it.