Today's poem is by Walter Bargen

The Whole Facts

Call it fact, mere fact, plain fact—
parts summed equal a whole
of some kind somewhere,
the sum no greater than itself,
so it's no longer true, facts
simply are. Pinto, Escort, Barracuda:
car parts are scattered deep across
the yard. Any whole is an accident.
Trace any accident back far enough
and it becomes inevitable.

The fact of this wind, stained with old
oil and simmering axle grease, rises out
of the hollow through unleafed
oaks and hickories, changes direction
and sweeps across the inevitable
accident that is me. I recall a baby's
startled gasp when rattle, bottle,
nipple didn't work, didn't satisfy,
and I blew into the plump crying face,
a warm breeze over the land of the wailing.
How the wide-eyed surprise was
accompanied by out-thrown arms
straight from a fat-diapered body,
as if in thanks or welcome back,
a startled embrace of the completely determined
accidental world.

Much like the Capa photograph
of a soldier downing a barren hill
during the Spanish Civil War,
his knees slightly buckled,
head turned aside from the lens,
as if he'd forgotten something
and embarrassed was about to turn
back, both his arms caught in that out-thrown
surprise, as if eighty years ago he'd been
hit by a bullet of breath and stopped
to lay down his rifle for a wide-eyed embrace
before he disappeared into scattered facts.

But in the wind that untangles itself
from the junk backed into this hollow,
the blooming dogwood leans over the porch,
floats its four-petalled pools of light
with a nervous elegance,
though each petal is notched and brown
at the edges, as if what's missing
was burned or shot away. Nearby
a blue jay scrapes at a scab of air,
others answer, and the sky is a clear
blue wound. A flock of warblers
migrates north across the yard
and field, flying low, just above
the rusting cars and bleached weed
stalks. A black cat leaps and swats one
bird out of the air. The flock flutters on,
a smaller whole, a winged army,
and for a moment, I grow calm
and remember what it means to grow whole
and smaller with each breath.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Bargen All rights reserved
from Trouble Behind Glass Doors
BkMk Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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