Whether Conditions: An Almanac
If I am here and you are there and on the fields
of these leaves we meet, then the forest need not
be perfect, just complete. Now crickets wind
dated August watches, and the northernmost range
of the glossy ibis goes still northward and telephone trucks
prune the crowns of trees growing into the wires.
If the only exit is to trace the way we began. Wind
parts the heavy curtains of the neighbour’s Sukkah,
invisible moth eggs sleep in the felt cloth, the roof
hosts rivers of rain. If glacier + forge
equals shallows then the cloud-bound sun
will appear as a dandelion. Those cumulonimbus
look ready to speak. If the old tree lists from years
of giving in to the wind, the negative of an absence
is a positive like lightning and surprising too.
You nurse the little aches like a mother her child.
He finds the kestrel preening on the highest antenna
and the knives hidden inside your mind shut tight.
The only exit is to retrace the way we began. A hole
is a thing in a hole that is not. The rain that’s forecasted
to turn into snow will never become snow. Who
has always dreamed she was a red-tailed hawk
in the featherless body of man? On the solstice our tracks
get covered almost as soon as we leave them.
If the sudden ice sizes up the trees. The best emotion
is a cloud I can’t name, and the first birds carve
up the dark. If the weeping does not end but gets lost
in the background. In the beginning even the traditions
were avant-garde, then even the birds will be stunned
to silence. If even the birds are stunned to silence
then narrative elements emerge like clouds from
I don’t know where, and frost will turn the early grass gray.
If this dissolution of cherry blossoms blooms then
snow and snow and snow again. He dances through
the empty village on his way home, forsythia radiating
through a glum mist, the storm in his back calming down.
If the plus is simply additive—or simply a cross,
then the worms will rise, helpless, onto sidewalks.
If the lightning sears the sky like an angular worm
I do not dance in a place, but I dance the place.
Rain is not a substitute for rain, and even the robin’s song
seems strange again. I try for some largesse, and
upon contact with water the silueta undulates at once.
If the sky displays its secret strength but in such a way
as to keep its secret in the very display, the wind will deafen us
even under the pine trees where they bury their pet.
Who left messages in the box we bury under the pine?
April rain, April rain, April rain.
If even the magnolia offers its saucers to the rain
then where is charity? In the furthest pool
a little blue heron stalks a killi while in the middle
of the quad the undergrads will emerge, lay out
their latest wares. Every season contains in itself
shards of every season, another year of the old man
and his hands aging gradually. If I is a form without
content, then the dandelions will refuse to open.
If the self is multiplied like the eyes of dandelions
then a wind comes through the curtains. Warm weather
makes her forget there are wars in other latitudes. Eyes
will weep from pollen or some other golden reason
the lilacs flared and disappeared. The trees say empty me,
empty me, each time the woodpecker knocks. Is this why we do
all die one day alone? The animal inside refuses the end,
the heat makes every room an oven. If the crane hoists
the air conditioner in its single arm like a fishing lure
into the open roof. Open your myth and taste. If moth
be loath to light, if heat is in itself a creative factor,
then the cicadas will play their dry tambourines. Your skin
turns the colour of bruised fruit. If you scare to flight
the family of wild turkeys as you jog past, in June,
and the chimney swift’s contact call connects with you
then the rain will smear all inklings of what lies ahead
then the baby bear lopes across the field
of driverly vision. Then I wonder in that cliché way
where has the time gone. Then a drop of rain bleeds
into the gutter of a journal. Then sun disappears for two days,
whipped into the gray cake of clouds. Then you probe
with your tongue where children came from. Then
angry Irene barrels up the coast and the the soundtrack
of summer suddenly goes mute. Then so unable to speak
am I. Then these song languages are suddenly unknown
by the younger generation. Then the windows will be closed
then eyes will be opened then a new day will unwrap itself
from the old then butterflies will tread the wind then
if 9/11 is tomorrow morning the sky will be blue.
If the pieces of paper fell from the tower like glittering
wings then I am simply a prosthesis of the plant world.
Mildly the mild day milks itself. If the if then thens,
just as justice bends. The fog on the volcano never lifts.
Birds with their cursive flight make legible the sky.
If by cloud you mean a suddenly cluttered mind.
Like glittering. The fog on the volcano never lifts.
A clapper rail nests in phragmites on a mound of debris
dumped here more than a century ago. Pieces of paper.
The mist so fine it is closer to skin than water.