Not Dead, But Not Quite Living
I use time between departures
to worry about you, the way
we left it.
Refiguring history fills
my idle hours, and I wonder
if you’re glad for me gone.
Will you let me back in,
or am I relegated to the fringe,
here where I’ve slowly migrated,
where hard facts are unspoken.
It feels like safety, but it’s not.
It’s like living under glass,
suspended like an insect on a pin.
Not dead, but not quite living.
It’s not long
before I leave again.
Under a white wing,
sinuous river channels drift
through folded hills,
village boundaries are like seams
in an ancient map
laid out carefully below.
The cabin is quiet, passengers
are fed and patient.
Blue aisle lights mimic the blue
outside. Further away,
uncertain air in the distance
softens the horizon.
Cloud shadows on the ground
are an intricate calligraphy,
telling me how far I am
from all of you.
the pull to turn back.
To step through the window.
Storms Over Red Wing
Mostly land and wind here.
Barns, silos, woodframe houses
float on a sea of plowed fields.
It’s the last of winter,
not quite spring.
A storm’s blown in tonight,
gusts slashing the house, crashing
the dead aspen onto the dairy shed roof.
Thunder rattles the loose sash
in the kitchen window.
Lightning rips tears in the black sky-plain above.
Out on the highway, semis like barges
navigate the channels
between undulating gray hills,
cloaked in rain.
That roof will need repair tomorrow,
that tree hauled away.
The downpour’s flooded the garden, muddied the road.
But it’s welcome in the fields
where crops wait,
like hope, to green and grow.
The clock in the hall marks
each drowsing hour,
and the housecat keeps watch.
Tucked under a warm blanket
and pastel sheets, I sleep and dream.
In the morning, there’s coffee
and quiet conversation,
here with my family that isn’t blood
but family the same.
We’ll sit on the porch in the sun
and watch for the rabbit that lives in the yard
as it travels its wild route
through the garden, under the steps
where the tulips will bloom,
and up on the deck, to stand
and watch us, twitching its velvet ears.
Looking me over,
learning who I am, adding me to the roster
of who is welcome here.
Don’t Wake Me at a Certain Hour
If the day is gray, open a door.
I want to taste the mist of the day
I’m about to live in.
It could be a mess, but that’s enough
for me. I don’t want anything certain
in the early hours. I’m busy untangling.
If you wake me while I’m lost in
whatever I’m trying to learn,
nothing will make sense.
Me, you, where we think we are,
why I broke the window or you
my heart – nothing will cohere.