Today's poem is by Richard Jackson

        for Sebastian, after the wreck

A few deer pause inside the rain, more gauze
than rain, and hear with their eyes the no-sound
we make. Darkness starts to collect the darkness
and sprinkles it among the deadfall behind them.
And behind that, a ravine filled with rusting washers
and waiting stories.
                                    Clouds hide the tumult
inside them.
                        I don't even know what I was
                It is not hard to imagine how quickly
we'll be forgotten. What endures is the idea we can
endure. We hang these stories on a few fragile
branches of memory.
                                    This is where you are
supposed to be addressed with allusions to
the particulars.
                      We are alive because each of us
owns a word we keep trying to pronounce.
I must go in, the fog is rising, Dickinson said
before being "called home." You'd think the rain
might mend a bruised heart. We can't even complete
the sentences of our lives.
                                            Now the deer disappear
and leave behind instructions for later, their trails
almost imperceptible. The rain thins so it can return
later to the clouds. It is hard to tell whether it is
mist or fog. Or the collecting gray. Or mere distance.

Not until there is that single word that reaches deep
into our lungs and pulls out the last, enduring breath.

Copyright © 2011 Richard Jackson All rights reserved
from Southern Indiana Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily!

Home   Web Weekly Features  Archives   About Verse Daily   FAQs   Submit to Verse Daily   Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2011 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved