October 21, 2010

Art Nahill

SUSTENANCE

In these few unclaimed hours,
my wife has been weeding her way
through the garden, stepping

mindfully among the arugula
and lettuces, the lavish tomatoes,
a blue heron of contentment,

arms, bared to rounded shoulders,
deliberate, precise in their reach
and recoil.

Upstairs, my newborn son is stirring,
fumbling at the latch of consciousness,
pacing, I imagine, the empty halls

and anterooms of sleep, dreams
before language, before color,
climbing like a bubble

to the surface of a warm, clear lake.
By this open window,
an occasional breeze lifts

the linen curtains, ghosting
through a book of poems
by Pessoa:

In everything I saw, part
of me remained.

And so I take it all in,
these totems of the quotidian,
these things that sustain me

when my life rises up and shakes itself
like a great dog, these pebbles
which finally teach me to speak.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2004

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