Monday, July 12, 2010

What Two Oh Seven A. M. is For

If not looking into the darkness and finding it line-broken, the caesuras and commas most of what life is: waiting rooms. The waiting takes more as the days get shorter and after reading Jackie Osherow's God's Acrostic again, and after considering all she says about how maybe God has hidden things in plain sight, down the vertical margins of our seasons and science and our eyes, dutiful drones, glide left to right while we lose the most pressing part of the message.

It's two a.m. again and I have been up twice since I went down. I sleep too little and fitfully, but there is good in this here insomnia and there are dreams. Just now I am thinking a student's after class conversation about how "whatever it is: fate or God or the universe, I feel like things are floating all around me and just when I need them, some drop down and into place." Never have I been more susceptable to such musings as this year, this everylargethingatonce year. The new babies in my life, the maybe-house-buying, and all the love, in various and unexpected forms but there and with people magical enough to know what it is and to tend to it.

The line breaks give the line another way of meaning, I told my class today. A visual moment of holding a thought and then, like breath, releasing it to the next unit of attention. The line breaks give a poem a way of being art with the strings of beads and the pattern of any given musical line of design, a way to pause for a minute and "hold that thought" while a line of prose would be lost to the paragraph, the line break allows that linger--however momentary and un-slowed in the reading--to give the eye a small trinket as it leaves the one line and serpentines down to begin the next. Only a poem does that, and sometimes, when we're lucky, a day.

In a few days, I hold Evan again and my sisters meet the boy and the beginning of the kind of unity of all that matters to me continues and there will be the sea too, some rented convertable and a stretch of stupidly-clear sky. What clouds find us, find us laughing.

For now, sleep.


She writes with lavender ink on cream vellum. A crow
takes roost in the monkey puzzle, is lost

in its formal bracts. It rains; the rivers rise.
Clouds drifting east swell with the monsoon

flooding Thailand; the woman weeps
as she writes. A cargo liner headed seaward

escapes the tip of a triangle. Fingers of rain
point down. A foghorn declaims the enormity

of ocean, its black fathoms. In a small town
on another coast, a man checks the sky,

puts on his raincoat, opens his mailbox — galvanized steel,
flag for rural delivery — inside, an envelope

that he slices with the knife he folds
and pockets before removing her letter.

He will know the spidery purple, the fine cream,
the strokes that slope left, slightly. See, the ink

on the letter is smudged, I just need to know
you are there, the envelope, rain spotted.

Copyright © 2010 Diane Kirsten Martin All rights reserved
from Conjugated Visits
Dream Horse Press

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