Beautiful Light this Morning
—for just a moment, and then a shift and I adjust—I have no choice. Wind in the trees, my favorite sound since forever; my boots against the pavement: I’m as fully here as I’ll ever be, down on my knees more than it might appear. What’s fair? Who cares. Are there new things to say? You have to be willing to go there. What kindness means to me may not make sense to you. Für Elise is the one song I know by heart, easy piano. Some things travel far to reach us. What can I offer the magnolia leaf, she who lay so memorably on the sidewalk—?
A Very High Heaven
—So that’s where; I had wondered, looking behind every snowflake… The things I get used to astound me: June skies in January; long ago, on your lap; the hard fact of my father’s death. Sometimes I cross a line; did you draw it? For no reason, an ambulance out front. But you get home safe. I took it and I never gave it back is a title. One of us said it; both remembered.
Like a Lamp Just Lit
Sometimes, for a long time, I wait. Sometimes I play a game called detachment. When it's over, whatever it is, I watch the air go out. Just think, everyone has desires. The beginning of time—when was it for you? It started again for me when my father died. This year, the snow comes 10 days too early, but one day is as good as another. I make a plan, as I’m prone to do. Strange still to think of him in the ground. We’ve agreed to something, you and I, separately and together. My father agreed to be the snow in the trees. All that has come to pass, all that hasn’t, is it really true?
Protected from inauspicious beginnings; tedious middle; dragged out endings— a wind sweeps everything in its path, and in mine too, thank you. Geese go north to get south, sometimes. Whatever you think is best, I say. Are you sick, or have you been disappointed? There’s a sacrament for that. It’s called autumn. My mother can still recall her childhood address. I’ll never forget my father’s easy smile. Sundown, I walk in the new cold, streetlights and porch lights just coming on.
Another Time, Though
How many ridges up, would you say? Or how many, here to there? And what direction are we headed? Just follow the river, someone always says, as though that’s an answer… Some metaphors fail, you know; some things just don’t make sense. On that we agree, carrying on, casual-like… a poet’s ancient skill: Noticing this and that, la la! I’ll send word from the north woods, shadow of the red pine, my confidant; you send word of the sunlight. You send word, won’t you, of the sunlight.
Some days, I have a big idea about leaving. On good days, a girlhood feeling. Today, the wind makes an oil painting of the lake and sky. Come to think of it, leeway is a privilege. I give the poem a wide berth. I go about my business. Last night’s snow thought better off it, and blew away.
MARY ANN SAMYN’s most recent collection of poetry, Air, Light, Dust, Shadow, Distance, won the 2017 42 Miles Press Poetry Prize. She teaches in the MFA program at West Virginia University and lives in West Virginia and her home state of Michigan.
Cover image by Adrian Huth.
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