Today's poem is by Leslie Ullman
Sky: An Inquiry
after a line by Octavio Paz
Light is laying waste the heavens . . .
but how does one lay waste to
absence? The heavens. Euphemism
for container that is no container
at all. Antithesis of place.
I let my thoughts disappear into
a blue that somehow makes
this sand, this late-summer
grass, the neighbors' white barn
and red horse trailer unmistakably
part of the earth's curve
earth, a pebble. As am I
perched upon it, glad that
what's before me is not concrete
or cinderblock or steel, but the tans and
greens one would see from outer space.
Petunia calmly notes none of this,
arranging herself like an ornament
on the desk before meshe too
is a heavens in her unique
black-and-whitenessjust what loops
and detours of ancestry produced
those asymmetrical black
smudges on her chin and left paw?
Perhaps light lays some kind of
waste if nightfall
contains us within a boundary
we might touch if we had to
but if I sent myself into that dark
as I do into this blue, I think
I'd discover I had no body
at all, and the stars no longer
where their light tells us they are.
Like this brown and green late-
summer desert, the barn and trailer,
the birds pecking my pomegranates
to shreds, and me and Petunia
here in the house. Today, there isn't
a single cloud or contrail or whisper
of haze. I try, but it's impossible
not to consider that blue, that
clearly infinite but decisive blue
as a presence. Something planned.
Copyright © 2006 Leslie Ullman All rights reserved
from Iron Horse Literary Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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