“Our very life depends on continuous acts of beginning. But these beginnings are out of our hands; they decide themselves.
Beginning precedes us, creates us. There is nothing to fear in the act of beginning.
More often than not it knows the journey ahead better than we ever could."
John O’Donohue

18 September 2013: This Home, Last Days

Postcard from Here

There’s not much to tell
except that the sweet orange 
cherry tomatoes have continued
to spread their thin skins to transparent
and fill with with fruit,
in defiance of the blight.

Maybe also that the orange slant of light
that enters this room at eight
makes me wish for you.

It’s just that it is so improbable,
that glow like sunrise and sunset
and another planet, all at once.
So that if you could find your way across the miles
to just sit with me here for a while, 

in defiance of the blight, 
our shared witness might coax it to stay.
This room might find its way to taut hopefulness again,
might tremble at its edges
knowing its kinship with the slender thread of fall chill
woven into the late summer breeze.

Because I mean to follow that thread
back to the black dirt
or crystalline cloud it came from,
and ask what it is that compels the earth
to go dormant,
to end the blight not by healing the tomatoes,
but by sinking it all in a flood of frost
that spares only what huddles underground
or builds four walls.

I imagine you here to sanctify this waiting,
unsure how long it will last,
certain that this eight o’clock glow will move on 
in its journey to the earth’s darker side,
unaware of how much it is still needed here.

5 August 2013: Lake Champlain

Search for the Plesiosaur

“It doesn’t take much for a creature
to become a monster,”
he informs me,
tossing stones into shallow water.
“But it takes even less to bring them back.
They just have to know you love them.”

So we walk the sandy parts of the lake’s shore,
the wooded ones,
the bouldered coves,
the train tracks
sprouted with summer wildflowers.
We paddle out by kayak,
take the ferry roundtrip
across the narrow neck of the lake, 
linger at the apex of the arched bridge
between New York and Vermont.

I buy a second ice cream cone.
In case we find him.
In case he likes ice cream.

The time passes with comments on newness--
the peculiar flowers that seem to live just here,
the feel of cold, fresh lake water
under the layer warmed by the summer sun,
vistas with mountains whose names we don’t know, 
the way we can see rain clouds moving in 
from so far away.

I have no way to tell him, eight years old,
that I’ve been here before,
and not once.

This is where all the trouble starts—
searching for a monster
with a tender heart.