Living between, we watch what flows below us shed itself.
And what remains after the drought subsides?
I don’t recall the instance of assignation, of color-imprinted
awareness and stones erupting from the earth,
nor the paper’s texture and the faint odor of chemicals reacting,
but in this moment I embrace bitter coffee, the wrecked-nerve
hammer-strikes pulsing from hip to ankle, squealing brakes
and the rain shallowing morning’s ridge as if to say
enjoy me now
for I may never return.
Faith flickers in the wind, darting among the weeds.
Risen from payment, penalty, punishment, revenge, the word pain
establishes justification where none need exist.
Interpreting light and sound, scent and heat, we converse.
The dog shivers in bed and I lay a towel over her,
affixing content to involuntary movement.
Stepping through space, crossing the stream.
Those things we don’t know.
Three feet below me the snake’s head ripples towards the far side,
a V of turbulence dissecting the calm.
Everything that can be contained contains us as we in turn
envelop one another. I take your hand and press forward.
Connected, we part, only to return and part again.
My hand stopped inches away and the diamondback slithered off
under the workbench, seeking peace.
Abandoned skin, abandoned words. Even the cactus grows thirsty.
The paradox of becoming what you are not. Today, sitting hurts
and standing provides little relief.
In one of two halves I find myself. In the other, your laughter rings.
Like rumblings of earthen discontent or the hiss of air
exiting waterless pipes, we emerge, aimless, exhausted.
Inhabiting one world, we seek others.
* * *
“Between” appeared in Clade Song, one of my favorite poetry journals, in August 2016.