THE BANNER UNFURLED
We were standing below the eaves
With the rain coming down hard,
Almost unbroken as if the water were
A solid that had been forced to
Reconsider its mission. What was it
To do? Be drunk? Irrigate crops?
Flood a street? Drown an animal?
That and the day around it, gray
With an insistent dull red of the
Traffic light breaking through the torrent
On a predictably regular mission
To change the day with its insistent interruptions.
It was no good.We knew we would
Be here for a long time. The world
Had turned soft and soggy around us.
We were no longer able to talk through
The down pour. I remember thinking “This
Is what it must be like all the time when
We grow old and once again live alone.”
I knew this wasn’t so but it
Became a banner and I imagined
The years running away from me,
Afraid of what would happen next,
The water rising above my shoes,
Slapping at my ankles.
TINY SHARDS OF GLASS
We were sitting in the other room,
The one away from the woods.
We were unable to see what was making
The noise but we all could hear it.
We all heard different things.
That it was music seemed a general
Agreement but what clothing that music
Wore was what mystery would come
To claim as a definition.
I was dreaming the form.
Nothing had prepared me for it.
It kept breaking like promises,
The kind made when you’re really afraid
And will forget when the light returns
Or the danger passes or we recognize
Someone we know and everything isn’t
So scary anymore. It burns.
When I opened my hand there were five
Planets, each in flames, each a different
Color. This was unacceptable
But brought much comfort from the noise.
We had supposed it to be something,
Anything almost, a place to begin,
A room toward understanding but
It was not. It was a mere stone,
A place to stand, to emote and to
Have a place where we could see
These planets in their luxurious fire
And gaze at them without fear
In not knowing what they were
Or why such a thing should be.
They were unelected, like love does
When it finds itself in a depth
It has never seen before, much less
Understand, yet still as true and wide
As the great Missouri river in full
Flood, everyone standing on the banks
Wondering if we shall perish or merely
Break into tiny shards of glass.