Almost “Almost Invisible” by Mark Strand

Almost invisible Almost invisibleMark Strand; Alfred A Knopf 2012WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 
Let’s say that night has come and the wind has died down and a male cardinal, his iconic crest and red feathers invisible in the darkness, flutters overhead in the portico rafters as you step outside and pass quickly to the garden walk beyond to avoid getting shat on, and the noise of the wings reminds you of the riffling of pages by a disappointed reader of a new book, ordered in hardcover because it was on sale at Amazon and how could you go wrong with such an author, who once served as Poet Laureate and who translated one of your favorite Spanish poets, Rafael Albertí — besides which it’s prose poetry, one of your favorite things; and let’s say that your nostrils prickle at the smell of rain and you remember as you sometimes do an incident long ago, in the 4th or 5th Grade, when the fastest runner in the school ridiculed your assertion that rain could have any kind of smell, and because you wanted to like him you said nothing, though his arrogance rankled and this very minor exchange stuck with you and continues to color the pleasure you take in the smell of rain even four decades later, adding a dash of melancholy as you unzip and begin to urinate into the darkness on the far side of the driveway and a sharper, earthier odor begins to take its place, and you recall what your girlfriend said earlier about the poet’s heavy, elephantine playfulness lurching bathetically into a kind of Dr. Zhivago-esque mood which seemed not only out-of-place but unearned, because isn’t that really how this whole spring has felt so far — the absurdly early heat wave followed by a cold April; now let’s say that there is a halogen flashlight in the house and you toy with the idea of fetching it and scanning the edge of the woods, where you’d probably pick up the eye-shine of a deer or two, or possibly a raccoon, but remembering the poet’s words, you intone the dark is my freedom and my happiness, zip up and go back inside to peer into the glowing well of your ancient and cumbersome computer.