LOVE OF DISTANCE
He’s enchanted with the idea
of reaching through space,
wants me to wait by the window
while he climbs the far-off mountain,
sets up the light, flashes something back
in Morse code. He says we should begin
studying our dots and dashes, along with
smoke signals, the extravagantly long rolled r’s
of Spanish. Hand gestures of the deaf.
Or we could take the rim trail,
one of us staying on the southern lip
while the other heads north till our bodies
shrink to the size of tree-frogs. Then we can converse
across the canyon without effort, no need
to raise our voices. He is certain this will work,
that the atmosphere at these heights
will bear our words with a clarity
as yet unknown to us.
My faith in these things is weaker.
I dare not tell him the Far Eastern stories—
the one where the poet builds two houses
on opposite shores of the lake. Gives one
to his sweetheart, who he tells to go in,
take up dulcimer or needlework, learn to love
the lonely ways. Think of the surprise,
he says. One of our faces suddenly shining
between the black birds and reeds.
—from Rattle #27, Summer 2007
Prartho Sereno: “When I first read that so much depended on a red wheelbarrow beside the white chickens, I breathed a sigh of relief. My inner whisperer seemed to know this kind of thing, but I had always felt her murmurings to be of no use. Now I could scramble through an odd labyrinth of life-hoops—psychologist, cab driver, head cook, single parent, housecleaner, palmist, phys. ed teacher, Poet in the Schools—with someone I could trust inside. She’s the one who writes my poems.” (web)