My wife pauses by the placard
in the nature preserve and tells me
that what I have been calling grasses
are in fact a sedge known as sawgrass.
She points out the warning that
it’s serrated on the edge and earned
its name from those who grasped
it without knowing or thinking first.
I feign listening but she knows
my mind is elsewhere, knows I often
depart conversations suddenly
while maintaining a false presence.
She does not know I am 40 years
younger, pouring hydrogen peroxide
on the cut deep into the interossei
muscles when the glove slipped off
and the yucca I was boldly trying
to pull from the dry, stone like soil
had decided this was the moment
to extract its final revenge.
There are those occasional moments
of clarity that appear without warning
and are, as quickly, gone.
We expect them less as we age
and they oblige us by staying away.
Children assume them, and are
rarely surprised, as though
they see them coming, need no warning
and have no expectation
anything will come of them.
Expectations grow proportionally with age
and patience diminishes apace.
The child understands all of this
with the same fascination she has
for a soap bubble, as she watches
each float away on the breeze of time.
They hide in corners, and you think
you can see them, but you cannot be certain
for they are vague and could be no more
than wishes, but belief is sufficient.
As you grow older, the number of corners grow
and a universe of but eight corners
is now itself tucked in a corner of memory.
One corner hides the face of the man
who adopted me, watched for two years,
before departing suddenly, and the only item
I have is his diploma rolled up in a tube
where my own accomplishments are rolled.
In another corner the day I met the man
I now call father is so deeply buried
only his present, increasingly absent
aging face is all I can see.
Memories are elusive, appearing
and disappearing without warning
day by day the oldest evanesce
and that corner is filled
by another memory grown vague.
He is worried, he says
that we will be leaving on a full moon.
I remind him that he leaves
in two weeks, that this morning’s
half-moon will be gone then
replaced by its now absent other half.
He says it should be full if it’s half now
and half a month passes.
His statements seem logical enough
But the moon and stars have their own logic
and don’t care what we think,
that’s why I say, Luna never turns
her back on us so she’s always half unseen,
and she and the stars are willing to remind us
they were all gods and goddesses once
and could go back to that with very little warning.
There is a heaviness to the sky
a weightiness belied
by the gray of the clouds,
even the departing sun
seems to whisper that it
will be replaced by rain in short order.
You feel the weight bearing down,
as the heat of the day dissipates,
and although the first drops
have not yet fallen, you know
that it is best to be within
when the rain begins
for it will do so without warning
and with little care
for your presence,
for this is how Spring
demands your attention.
He is certain that there is
that single moment when it will be
exactly the right time for it.
There must be such a moment, for it
will not happen until that instant arrives
and he knows it must be arriving soon.
He isn’t sure how he will know
when the moment arrives, just that
it will signal itself, somehow
and he will know with enough warning
that it will happen on schedule.
Until then, he will sit, patiently
on the mat, staring at the wall
and imagining what samadhi
will feel like when it comes.
I stumbled in love
with you, she said,
because I’ve always
had this great fear
of falling. It must
come from my childhood
though I can’t recall
any specific incident,
just the deep bruises
my parents left
when they fell,
out of the love
I thought had
to last forever.
and much to our surpise
settled in for a long visit —
leaves us frozen in rage
at Spring’s reluctance to appear —