Saturday, June 15, 2013

Little Squalls

I have been deep in the Maine woods –far from Internet, phone, etc.– with my fabulous bride of thirty years. While I have little to "show" for the visit, the pleasures of her company, the wonders of nature (moose, bear, deer, otter, loons, ducks galore), and the melancholy satisfaction of catching up with what few elders remain in that part of the state, of which I have written at length in A North Country Life, are resonant and will remain so for good.

I did manage to draft the following poem, which will doubtless need more consideration.

Little Squalls

To stand at the sink drying dishes feels routine,
Except that the sun seems to drop so quickly,
Like a china plate he might fumble. 
He can all but sense the crash, if not with his ears.
His wife just left for a visit to a far-off city,

And her exit at sunfall engenders a mild inner ruckus.
Running late, she offered too brief a goodbye.
Her taillights plunged down the lane
–Though the day isn’t yet full dark– like odd little comets.
He wants her back before she gets out of sight. 

For whatever reason, he recalls having tripped on a trail
This morning, and feeling the lancet-like prick
Of a dead underbough near an eye.
It appeared a sort of wonder: he’d been spared for the moment,
Which made him silently say, I ought to direct

My thanks somewhere. But rather he stood clod-still,
The same as now, moving only a thumb
To tamp his tiny wound.
His response was far from distinctive– he thought
How his loves were so fragile. He couldn’t stare up at the sun,

But in mind he watched it gallop down the heavens.
Closer by, a phoebe bobbed on a bough
While the woods-floor’s springtime smells
Blended with ones of a winter not quite subsided.
The event made the same small squall in him as no:

Two in one day.
                                    The bird’s twitching tail showed no greeting,
There’d be nothing eternal in married affection.
New sap would drip into duff.
He sees how deluded he’s been if he ever believed
Dear things could last, or could be –if they did– sufficient.

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