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Today's poem is by Christopher Buckley

Keeping My Own Company

quien habla solo espera hablar a Dios un dia
—Antonio Machado


After all, the afternoons are off gossiping among the pines,
                                         and the first excursions

of stars won't start up south of here for an hour, climbing
                                         that bright net, and there

at the far end of evening, beyond the dim light of the patio,
                                         they will again confirm nothing

so absolute as the inattentive moon. Closer to home, jays
                                         annotate the doubtful margins

of the oaks, and a mockingbird tells all he's learned from
                                         trial and error—little more

than a coating of dusk on his wings to show for it. Otherwise,
                                         I have only met up with middle age,

a man in shirt sleeves walking away, across the ruined fields,
                                         a man who, without noticing

crosses over to another country where the roadside grasses are still
                                         burning at his heels, where

the same clouds clang overhead, and that ache in his back—dull
                                         as those tin clouds—says only

that the dark is coming on. It seems improbable that more might be
                                         revealed on a day no different

than the rest, when I have again gone dreaming the roads of my youth
                                         with their white discouraged dust,

alongside olive and lemon groves, with roses burning beneath the sun,
                                         a fragrance of sorrow on the air.

And so I also miss the Milky Way, the swirled spangle and milt,
                                         all the misplaced evidence of God

swimming away. Who am I talking to each evening across the table,
                                         the candle wavering between us?

A boy with a satchel of stolen tangerines, a man sporting that
                                         dust-colored houndstooth coat

from the Thrift? Lord of the warblers, Lord of ice in the heart
                                         of the red-shouldered hawk,

Lord of dust that has settled all week in the glasses for wine, today
                                         I desire nothing from the world.

Here I am, the same so far, heart like a weed holding on, the globe
                                         hardly moving. And it comes to me

that I was never meant to interpret the heavens, meant for nothing
                                         more than the minor admonishments

of wind, a scoured sky responding to the last blue petitions
                                         of the sea, where I wish again

for a little space to breathe, where I am taken with the spindrift,
                                         the implicit small talk of stars.



Copyright © 2002 Christopher Buckley All rights reserved
from Star Apocrypha
Triquarterly Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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