Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Small as Ocean

for Christine

I suddenly saw you today
you were twenty-one and
looking in the mirror
and you had no idea, no idea at all
that the world behind you was staggering
in the slipstream of your beauty.

The pupils of my eyes
are very small,
as if the dark spots
were nostrils,

you said.

We watch our sons
recede, and the world shrinks;
the shadows are tall
when the sun is low. No matter
how little we become, the casting
runs over the dusted ground:
We have done
what we could.

I hold your ribs
in my hands, and
each finger finds its warm ledge; and
like the ticking of a clock
I feel the beating of your heart.

Suppose we have gone small
as they have grown:
The fire still rises, and
the haunting of your body
by heart and wicked blood
and the marvelous sky, and
the shadows stride over
the red clay and the forest; and

opening into
the wildest widest open
countries, they are
night skies and torches,
seen at the last drunken
glimpse and dreamed long after.

You had not learned then,
as you have learned now,
that empires and monsters
and small fluttery things
enter at every inbreath;

that to say as small as these
windows into the heartspace
is to say
small as leviathan,
small as ocean.

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