all of these, repeating

You have a lover who always sends a next-morning poem, who one morning leaves in a pique, proclaiming: “I don’t know why I spend my time with you. It’s pointless to try to talk about it.” He is so angry that he leaves his coat behind. “It is finished,” he says. 

The next morning, there is no word from him and the same is true the morning after that.

The next day, it rains in great torrents. High violent winds rattle the glass in its frames. Still, no word. You begin to think: “He really is finished with me.”

It rains all day and all night. You feel low and ill and irritable. You pace the rooms of your house and watch the gray sky and the rain that falls, relentless. 

Then one evening after many days of silence, a note arrives. On the sheet of paper, only the words: the rising floods of rain. You read them over and over, each word giving more pleasure than whole books of poems might. 

There are other lovers. There are other mornings and there are other poems and the rains come and go. 

Names of pattern designs - Arabesque, dotted swiss, batik. 

Zalij - the word itself so beautiful. 

Trellis. Trefoil. Fretwork.  

Herringbone. Houndstooth. Fleur-de-lis.

Satin weave. Stipple. All of these, repeating. 

Things that should be small - Field mice. Hummingbirds. Pearls. The voices of lovers when they speak in hushed tones after love. 

A square of silk tied in a woman’s hair. A bit of thread for sewing something in a hurry.

Things that should be big - Houses. Museums. Family celebrations. The most special meals should have elements that surprise and delight. The dishes themselves need not be big, but the sense one should have about these occasions is of grandeur. Of being large and full. 

Peony blossoms should be so big and heavy that they bend their slender stalks. Pine trees should be big. Jacaranda flowers. 

Apples. Oxen. Inkwells.

Braziers. Woodpiles. Winter cherries. 

There are certain loves that grow so big they might swallow the world whole. It is good to have those loves, though they can bring considerable discomfort.