My love, I want to tell you of today:

so ordinary, but so full of portents and disclosures—
Please, do not roll your eyes or sigh, do not accuse me

of having grown soft as evidenced by this surfeit of emotion,
as if hardness were the only worthy standard of anything
these days. I tell you this without unnecessary embellishment,

without premeditation. For once, sit still
and let me tell you without having to think too much
about the words— Do you remember the poet

who said that morning, Why not pluck the ripe fig,
why not take the orange, why not swivel the fleshy globe
of the persimmon loose,
just because it was the brightest

or most immediate thing you saw, the branch bending low
over the neighbor’s fence and into your hands? Why not give in
to rapture without comment or accusation, without apology,

resisting the urge to camouflage? And it is the same
for every instance in which a body immolates itself,
goes up in a protest of flame and smoke before falling

off the roof: as in house number 11, Huangshi Village, China;
in April, as a line of excavators stands at the ready to tear
the walls of wood and plaster down, making way for hard

new grids of steel. The day dims then spills over into rain;
a current in the earth crumbles the belfry of an ancient church
and the hills bury children sleeping in their beds—

So it is easy enough to heft moments marked with nothing more
than our ticking silences against such sorrows, and deem them
unworthy. But something moves again across the field, or passes

the threshold: the smallest movement or disturbance— The mother
soothing the fretful child, the man bending to pick up a creased bill
from the floor. The one who didn’t even know what he had lost, stopped

in the spill of light just before making his way out the door.


In response to small stone (259).

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