TIME ON EARTH
July 31, 2015
New to country stars, you try
to identify the constellations.
You forget their stories.
But on warming nights you see them
& your throat fills with hymns,
some ancestral body’s holdfast tunes
to which your words are also blurred or blurring.
You read about Physologus,
Greek cosmologist; mythic namer of the universe.
You borrow Amy’s Audubon
& wander trying to match
shoots in mulch
to names. Embryonic skunk cabbage,
maple spangling the forest air—
You dream an orrery of leaves and bones.
You say: tow-hee and cali-cut,
and walk repeating names you’ve gathered
just to feel their pleasure on your tongue.
You call earthstar, clubmoss, and vibernum.
Beyond this, the constellated light-map.
Oil-drums, tankers, spirochetes,
terrorists, radios, specimens,
ice cream, methamphetamine,
pandemics, global economic crisis.
Then you burn the paper, watch its turquoise flame.
This is not always, but you think
This is my time on earth.
Today a thumb-sized frog
clambered up the screen.
shaking, skin grappling
all elements, a scrambling borderland,
a moving porous country.
Watching, you forget to feel alone.
Delightedly, you call
A frog! A frog! out to the rustling woods.
And that was all. O wriggler.
With a sudden hope you also
sing your own springtime song.