Everything

“…bright ash, dark ash, mirror, moon;
a child waking in the night to hear the thunder;
a traveler stopping to ask the way home.”
~ Li-young Lee, “The Undressing”

Mornings I want to take back most clearly now—
for a different kind of listening, for keeping us
from seizing at the first summons of the clock;
I want the light to brighten without over-

fevering, to take in its arms again the body
that’s been shifting weight as it cycles from one
moment’s murmurous demands to another. Perhaps
the rain has stopped falling, perhaps the warm

jets of steam escaping from these rows of houses
carry the smells of soaped linens or boiled meat.
Does it matter if the garden fills with the shed
wealth of trees, if the cold is meant to deepen

by the hour? Why couldn’t the birds stay here and not
go south, or the skins of fruit remain supple instead
of darkening to leather? Don’t you want to linger here
in this clearing; don’t you want to remember everything?

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