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afterwards :: jorie graham

by on March 13, 2016

I am beneath the tree. To the right the river is melting the young sun.
And translucence itself, bare, bony, feeding and growing on the manifest,
frets in the small puddles of snowmelt sidewalks and frozen lawns hold up
                                                                    full of sky.
From this eternity, where we do not resemble ourselves, where
                          resemblance is finally
                          beside (as the river is) the point,
and attention can no longer change the outcome of the gaze,
the ear too is finally sated, starlings starting up ladderings of chatter,
                          all at once all to the left,
                          invisible in the pruned-back
hawthorn, heard and heard again, and yet again
            differently heard, but silting
the head with inwardness and making always a
                 dispersing but still
coalescing opening in the listener who
         cannot look at them exactly,
since they are invisible inside the greens–though screeching-full in
                       syncopations of yellowest,
                       fine-thought, finespun
rivering of almost-knowables. “Gold” is too dark. “Featherwork”
                       too thick. When two
appear in flight, straight to the child-sized pond of
                           melted snow,
and thrash, dunk, rise, shake, rethrashing, reconfiguring through
reshufflings and resettlings the whole body of integrated
they shatter open the blue-and-tree-tip filled-up gaze of
                                the lawn’s two pools,??
breaking and ruffling all the crisp true sky we had seen living
                                down in that tasseled
earth. How shall we say this happened? Something inaudible
has ceased. Has gone back round to an other side
of which this side’s access was [is] this bodywidth of
                                                                still sky?
deep in just-greening soil? We left the party without a word.
We did not change, but time changed us. It should be,
it seems, one or the other of us who is supposed to say–lest
there be nothing–here we are. It was supposed to become familiar
(this earth). It was to become “ours”. Lest there be nothing.
Lest we reach down to touch our own reflection here.
Shouldn’t depth come to sight and let it in, in the end, as the form
the farewell takes: representation: dead men:
lean forward and look in: the raggedness of where the openings
are: precision of the limbs upthrusting down to hell:
the gleaming in: so blue: and that it has a bottom: even a few clouds                                                                       if you keep
attending: and something that’s an edge-of: and mind-cracks: and how the
                                                                            poem is
about that: that distant life: I carry it inside me but
can plant it into soil: so that it becomes impossible
to say that anything swayed
from in to out : then back to “is this mine, or yours?”: the mind
seeks danger out: it reaches in, would touch: where the subject
                                                                 is emptying,
                                                                 war is:
morality play: preface: what there is to be thought: love:
begin with the world: let it be small enough.


From → poems

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