Today's poem is by Richard Jackson
Sorrow walked in my clothes before I did. Flocks
of shadows followed me. One night I looked at the stars
I thought were gods until they disappeared. Some say
I smashed my father's idols and walked away.
Or walked towards a desert of barren promises.
Or promises that are hummingbirds hovering for
a moment then drifting away. Even now, walking
towards that mountain, sometimes I will watch
my shadow sitting beneath a plane tree, casting dice,
ignoring my steps. Some of you made me a founder
but it was only that shadow. Some of you made me
your father, but it was yourselves you were describing.
You plant a tree, you dig a well, and it brings life,
that's all. Everything else is the heart's mirage.
Except what begins inside you. Except Sarah.
When she stepped inside my dream the curtains
shivered, whole mountains entered the room.
It always seemed a question of which love to honor.
The land I loved fills with fire. Who should we listen to?
It's true, He offered the world and I offered only
myself. But I thought His words were coffins. I was
frantic for any scrap of shade. Now everything is
shade. Your old newspapers are taken up by the wind
like pairs of broken wings. Each window, each door is
a wound. One track erases another track. One bomb.
One rock, one rubber bullet. What can I tell you?
Where have you left your own morning of promises?
You remember Isaac, maybe Ishmael, but not the love
that led me there. Not Sarah. Just to hear the sound
of her eyelids opening, or her plants pushing the air
aside as they reach for the sun, twilight filling
her fingers like fruit. This afternoon a flock of doves
settled on my porch. Their silence took the shape
of all I ever wanted to say. Today, the miracle
you want aches inside the trees. Why believe
anything except what is unbelievable? I never
thought of it as a trial, not any of it. Now the leaves
turn into messages that are simply impossible to read.
The roots turn into roads as they break through
the surface. How can I even know what I mean?
Beneath the hem of night the rain falls asleep
on the grass. We have to turn into each other.
One heart inside the other's heart. One love. One word.
Inside us, our shadows will walk into water,
the water will walk into the sky. Blind. Faithful.
Inside us the music turns into a flock of birds.
Theirs is a song whose promise we must believe
the way the moon believes the earth, the fire believes
the wood, that is, for no reason, for no reason at all.
Copyright © 2014 Richard Jackson All rights reserved
from Out of Place
The Ashland Poetry Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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