Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Third and Fourth Generations

There sits the vase which arrived
in a beaten trunk, now on the teak
end table, along with a photo where
the background mountains shimmer
in miraculous sunshine and the only
flying things are an arrow of geese
impaling the north. In the foreground,
a  young woman tightly grips the
handlebars of a well-worn bicycle.

The less visible mementos of
a former life are the words
and stories which repeat
and repeat, like a movie I can’t
stop watching, even though
I know that it will all end badly
again and again, a wrong note
in a long song.  And yet, mesmerized,
I watch the cobra coil, slowly
dance the air and strike.  The first
sharp taste of venom in the blood
is as comforting as a bedtime song.
I know all the words, can sing along
without a single worry or thought.

Sometimes I crave nothing but silence,
a walk along a nearly forgotten path,
where woods and meadows are quilted
to the earth and the sun hangs, 

like a diver, during that first instant
of  separation from the diving board,
frozen just before the plunge,
before every sharp perception melts
in the deepening dusk and the world
is a place that I can no longer recognize,
reborn, triumphant over memory.

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