Monday, October 03, 2005
Tonight was your first time. You stepped
Toward dark waters, burdened with blankets and light.
Your first time. Dark weeds engulfed you,
nettles stung your bare legs. You struck
at them with a stick, as if they were serpent,
as if they were hungry, while the weight
of the night swung precariously
on your back. You reached out
a foot for stepping stone, a foot
for the dark water, and slipped. Sudden,
unexpected, you plunged into the icy creek.
Water swelled up around you, your body
slid into the dark current. Away downstream,
your hat swirled and you rose up to plunge
after it, staggering to shore with the prize, dripping,
angry, embarrassed. Your dumped a quart
and a half from each boot. Slogged up the hill,
home. All these years you've lived on the creek,
and you never fell in. Now you can laugh, and you do.
And you don't. You're poised on the creek bank
again in the nettles, one foot stretched
toward the water. You still have to cross
the dark water.
For Scott Carter, At Silk Creek Retreat '05
Opening Poem note: Keith and I talk every night on Yahoo voice chat and I use the computer speakers to listen to him. It is always a shock to hear the silence when he clicks off.
After You say “I love you” and click off voice chat
The room, inhabited just moments ago with your words,
with the round lush sound of your voice, goes suddenly quiet.
It’s a box, this room, a hole into which the silence pours.
It empties me. Then comes the low hum
of the computer. The sleepy sounds of the night bird shifting
on its roost. Yellow light, spreads from the lamp;
a small spider climbs the blank wall. Four hundred miles away,
you pull the covers to your chin and close your eyes. Immediately,
you sleep. In my box of wakefulness, I am alone.