Today was downright exhausting, and my hour long walk along the river left me dripping and drooping. It wasn’t different than most days, same time, same place, and the usual 756 miles, according to my old friend Orion, who was watching from his usual perch, unseen, as he prefers it by day. When I was done, I started to complain about how I felt, when Orion interjected, “Just be thankful you’re not in Florida today, its hotter by far, and your usual walk would have covered a full 930 miles today, and there you’d have reason perhaps to complain just a bit.” Heading home to shower, I called out to Orion, “You know you are one heavenly pain in the ass.” “Yeah,” he replied, “that’s what Artemis said.”
At first it was a checkerboard of ponds neatly arrayed, reflecting the sun, the work of man, for God so rarely plays geometrician with creation, less often still using right angles. Soon enough green blades reach up through the shirred surface, random, reaching for a sun they can never touch. It is a field soon, the water pooling at the roots is lost in the emerald sea its waves now generated by the wind from the distant mountain. It is marigold yellow now, fading day by day to curry, the spikelet slowly letting go their grip on the grains that will soon lie on the bamboo mats, drinking the last of the sun they will know.
She imagined what it must be like to have wings. She always wanted to be unmoored from the ground, to be free of its incessant pull, to look down on it from high above, and not with aid of contraption, just her, arms outstretched. The ground was a prison. She could move about, yes, but never really free, that sixth direction always denied to her. The sea was as close as she could come to true freedom, the sandy bottom dropping away, but the water was an imperfect atmosphere. She finally found the courage and stepped free of the cliff, felt the wind beneath her, the earth below falling away and coming up under her. She flew on until the alarm clock ended her flight.
As the plane slowly descends the cemetery appears through a break in the clouds. The headstones are arrayed in neatly ordered geometries, unknown to those who lie beneath, and those who water the always verdant lawns.
Mausoleums cluster in a small village, from which no one ever moves, and rest comes easily to those who lie within.
You have no sense of being on an island standing on the corner waiting for the light, caught cursing those who block the box. It is odd having to look up to see the sky, gray on this day, but here the horizon is only chrome, glass and stone. It is only from the 45th floor that the river brings you to ground.
Catherine Camden is quite dead, so secure in her peace that her parting has faded and all that remains is her name, and that too, will soon be gone as she was, slowly devoured by the winds. The white swans on the Thames pay her no notice.
Early this morning as I drove through the mist that clings to Portland in March like a child’s yellow slicker, I thought of you, home, asleep on our bed, my side tidy, no faint indentation of life, and I thought of the thousands who have died to date in Iraq, who never again will leave a faint indentation in any bed. It is far easier thinking of you, of regretting the miles between us at this moment, but knowing that I will shortly bridge those miles and we will tonight indent our bed, that two thousand miles is little more than an inconvenience, while many of them are no more that a dozen miles outside of countless towns; but the effect of that short distance is infinite and they can only indent the thawing earth beneath the granite stones.
For a while, I will be using Thursday’s posts to feature poems I previously had published. Today’s, Early Morning previously appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).