Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Customs and Marriage

This family is fretting
the first gate, quietly demanding
of their pants and jacket pockets
the boarding passes they'll produce

for the disinterested inspector
whom I pass, losing sight
and the swirl of their soft panic,
until again at the flight gate

they are unstill,
searching out other pouches,
changing hats and draping
themselves in tassell-shawled

prayer, binding and unbinding
a final, recited security check
so they become indestructible

North Through Stuyvesent Falls

The black and white mourners
move too fast across the cemetery,
I am afraid they'll regret how brief
was this cool Friday afternoon.

We learn from cinema
that movement is shift in perspective:
Uncle's unfocused eyes and stiff cowboy hat
over Aunt's chiffoned shoulder,

then black-vest, white-shirt Uncle in relief
against a muscular John Muir horizon,
billowed cumulus and permanent hills.
Grandmother up close is sunken and still,

reluctantly planning how to walk back
to Pats Lane through the tussocked fescue,
the wind-borne cottonwood seed
and virtually impenetrable may flies.