M. returns from Austin with the Dean Young book of poems and I’m all aflutter, swoony. I am late to this, I know, but look:
Delphiniums in a Window Box
Every sunrise, even strangers’ eyes.
Not necessarily swans, even crows,
even the evening fusillade of bats.
That place where the creek goes underground,
how many weeks before I see you again?
Stacks of books, every page, characters’
rages and poets’ strange contraptions
of syntax and song, every song
even when there isn’t one.
Every thistle, splinter, butterfly
over the drainage ditches. Every stray.
Did you see the meteor shower?
Did it feel like something swallowed?
Every question, conversation
even with almost nothing, cricket, cloud,
because of you I’m talking to crickets, clouds,
confiding in a cat. Everyone says,
Come to your senses, and I do, of you.
Every touch electric, every taste you,
every smell, even burning sugar, every
cry and laugh. Toothpicked samples
at the farmers’ market, every melon,
plum, I come undone, undone.
If you are looking for breathlessness, does it get any better than this?
His plane lands in Boston late at night. He drives through the dark, through the pouring rain. Arrives in the small hours. I sleep so lightly that I hear him on the stairs, ascending. Overnight, they are building the bridge. Overnight, the jackhammers, relentless. It is barely sleep, what we do. Our bodies entwined, suspended. Held there, for a few short hours, hovering.
Morning is a celebration. All of us back together again after so many long separations. The pleasure of it, palpable. We huddle around the kitchen table, even with the papers and the catalogs piled on top of it, even with yesterday’s unopened mail. We are all chatty and loud and laughing. We cannot walk past each other without touching, as if only to prove that we are all there.
And then we are not. We head out in different directions where we will pass the hours of the day with other people, with other concerns.
But aren’t these the moments that we will remember, years from now, years after the places that we went and the things that we concerned ourselves with today have faded from memory? This boy, crawling up to his father’s lap, grinning. This girl, perched on the edge of a chair next to me, her hair falling in her eyes, her eyes alight. This laughter.
This man, this woman, this reaching out across the impossible distance of where one of us ends and the other begins. How we are trying to carry this love.
Won’t we always remember the trying?
Once in the early days, we fought about some petty thing. We were in the parking lot of the movie theatre. I got so angry that I left him there, drove off. It was raining. I drove to a nearby strip mall, circled around, fuming. Wandered in and out of the stores, lightheaded and sad. Eventually, I went back, but he was already gone.
I am looking for grace in the small moments. I am looking for a kind of redemption. I am trying to make meaning from this chaos. This swirling world. This collection of losses that we all carry with us, the weight of which threatens to topple us at any time.
These grand gestures of language are attempts to contain it all.
There is grace, I think, in the trying.