POET - Days


She took my two hands in hers, pressed and caressed them as if she were bathing me. I held hers as mine were held, stroked her knuckles, her palms, then realized the finger I lightly traced was my own. How strange to find I could show myself such tenderness.

Our son was born under a full moon. That night I walked through the orchard, and the orchard was changed as I was. There were blossoms on the fruit trees, more white blossoms on the dogwood, and the tiny clenched fists of bracken shimmered silver. My shadow fell beside the shadow of the trees like a luster on the grass, and wherever I looked there was light.

Trembling and furious, the baby screams. He’s tired, and his own body frightens him. I hold him by his shoulders and sing. It’s a sad song, but he finally sleeps. It’s a sad song, but even silence can be a terror, and a violence, and I keep singing.

The stream echoed through the canyon, and it seemed the current no longer flowed, but hovered, and was held as we were, in the insulating mist where time circled itself, uncertain of direction, until a peacock screamed, a tractor coughed, and the thousand wheels began to spin again.

The stillborn calf lies near the fence where its mother licked the damp body, then left it. All afternoon she has stood beside a large, white rock in the middle of the pasture. She nuzzles it with her heavy neck and will not be lured away. This must be her purest intelligence, to accept what she expected, something sure, intractable, the whole focus of the afternoon’s pale light.

Two girls were struck by lightning at the harbor mouth. An orange flame lifted them up and laid them down again. Their thin suits had been melted away. It’s a miracle they survived. It’s a miracle they were ever born at all.



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