Illinois in Spring
from the passenger side of a truck with a strawberry air freshener
hanging from the rearview mirror. The driver is a man, a stranger.
The quiet ratio of land to sky—a sky so pale, so casually blank that
it seems almost sardonic—that, finally, you have come to the place
that is bigger than loss. The place that is big enough to hold every
absence. That things grow here, pale and small from enormous land,
inspires abject panic. It is something like the panic of watching a bird
land on water. The end of the line will always give you that feeling.
Walking Away From Your Favorite Tree
Starts with looking away from your wrist,
with folding the blade back into the body
of the Swiss Army knife.
Standing up from the bench
by the roses becomes
looking into the sun
until it makes a spot in your vision
becomes wondering what time it could be.
Days can pass
with only the faint sound of own footsteps.
The body falls into the familiar rhythmic acceptance
of forward motion:
the forgotten dips of baptism,
long sex with someone you honestly love,
the moment as a child
when you learned how to swing
on the swing behind the old school
Walking too is the effort of a body
in concert, muscles and bones
moving together in one direction.
Begin by concentrating on just one part:
start with looking away from everything
but your feet until your neck
talks, until your eyes want to see
more, and when you move your head
again, the tree,
the favorite tree--
an umbrella pine
bent over itself--
and the folded roses,
and the hillside paths
to it, lined with willows, will all
have disappeared from view
wholly. This is a certainty. Even in Spring,
birds are flying away from somewhere.