“An oar moves a boat by entering what lies outside it.” ~ Jane Hirshfield

After the walls of the houses came down,
for more than a month it seemed the earth
would not stop shaking—

You were barely two during this near-
apocalyptic time: what did you see,
how much do you remember?

By day the sounds of medical transport choppers
filled the air; by night we slept with shoes
on our feet, pulse rattling in our mouths,

ready to scoop you in our arms and flee (where?)
at a moment’s notice. Every now and again
I think about it all,

then of the years that followed: clicking
waterfall of dominoes, marker after marker
slipping past like ghost

islands in mist. When I left,
did I turn spectral too? I won’t
dishonor the years of absence

with platitudes; you know as much
that I too wanted to find fresh
fortune in the winds,

a clearing where I could harbor.
Midwives of desire and discontent,
we’re utterly changed

yet shaped by what others call fate,
what I call simply the particulars
of biography.

The lovely singer with the soulful eyes croons
Non, rien de rien; promises we can start
over again— that it’s paid for, removed, forgotten.


In response to Via Negativa: Voyager.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.