A filament of proof is heaven's law.
The blue sky ruled with clouds, an ant's thorax,
or chiming dolphins undersea imply
cosmos out of chaos, a sort of purpose
indecipherable as tattooed henna.
Wrench an atom open, there lie the quarks
lodged tight as seeds within the grainy
fruit our ancient mother Eve, nervous
and alone, tasted, and made a vessel
for the seasons and our mortality.
Each article of faith is but a guess
we buckle tight as armor, and believe
without backing, though some days, the rattle
of kingfishers could almost bless us all.
When Wes Harmon shot me
with his .22,
I knew I was dead
and lay in the dust, crying.
I didn't hear song, didn't see
much but flickering shapes
at the edge of dry light.
Wes's face was a shadow
when he picked me up;
the rabbit had been
so fixed in his sights
he forgot I'd wandered ahead.
We fingered the tear
in my shirt, marking ourselves
with the blood of mistakes.
Years since, I trace
the smooth nick of flesh,
that heaven is this place, this pain.
Here the only mountains are clouds. Horizons
last all day, and steer you over bottomlands
crossed by flowing geese and stars. The basic
gifts remain: towns with ordinary names, old roads,
praise for spring sap and cottonwood leaves.
Be ready, hum the streetlamps, for loneliness.
This place once was ocean floor, and memory
lies beneath unweathered sands.
When you listen to the cold, it tells
how frozen creeks clench like a horse's jaw,
how a winter day can fire the fate-lines
in your palm, like they'd just been carved.
Love is for bright days only. They've had to
invent a word for the moments in-between:
Patience, say some. Speak to me.