“On my way home I remember only good days. / On my way home I remember all the best days. / I’m on my way home I can remember every new day.”
— Enya, Irish singer and composer
A Good Day
The day lifts like a perfect body
pulled from water, dripping.
Tree frogs, red-legged frogs all
The sound is a hundred hinges,
the body entering and entering.
Both cats lap at my ankles as I step
from a shower, then they turn
to each other, licking and nipping.
The deer mouse hunted room to room
three nights running, sits preening
in the corner of my eye, tucked
behind a basket of books, tiny hands
scrubbing cheeks, crown, opaque ear.
Through the window, one sky, wild hair
of cirrus clouds washed with blue.
The old fire trail,
walking, walking, walking,
redwoods leaning over both shoulders,
below each sole, millennia of crushed needles.
A hermit thrush scurries forward, pauses, tilting back
his head, opening throat, a gilded pink well,
ethereal music, as if the birdness
has flown out of the bird.
Off to Work
Driving, immersed in jazz, this road
black tinsel through heavy leaves
of colt’s foot and spent trillium,
the landscape ridges and valleys. Suddenly
deep in a gulch the jazz breaks,
a baritone voice says, consider only
the best, the jazz just as suddenly back
topping a hill, the universe
momentarily un-encrypted. Driving,
no not god, but more than hawker.
I turn up the dial.
Three starlings, plumage flashing
copper, purple, oiled green in thin fog,
climb a ravaged trunk, talking like hawks
then trilling, looking into openings, yellow beaks
honeyed with cool emptiness.
I crouch to a poppy, a gaudy ornamental
among the native orange. Under my breath,
and mist slick, the blossom bursts. All morning
I walk halls, skim carpets, trousers cuffed
in red petals that won’t let go.
Many voices at once, then calm. Cups lift
and each face sees itself tremble.
Beside me a woman talks intensely, her hands
tethered birds pulling into the air.
I focus on one thumbnail, a little arc of dirt.
What has that thumb been up to?
Cradling muddy shoots, scraping up shiny stones,
cleaning a dog’s foot, the crevices between pads?
Her hands flutter and bank, that thumb
with its own crescent of dark moon.
Falling in love with those hands,
that thumb, their mysterious lives.
Clam Beach, Pretending
Sanderlings wheel over damp sand,
legs a blur. As if pushed by wind,
they float North. Sparks fill their footsteps.
Godwits, whimbrels, sandpipers land
in an applause of wings, picking
at the glistening.
What if, in the next world,
we could be birds, more sanderlings,
trundling beside ocean on six toes,
black beak stabbing shore, prying open
the wet edge, poking into the salt darkness
for some succulent morsel?
At the Theatre, Kodo Drummers
Kodo, heartbeat. A room of battered skins
becomes something else.
My collarbone floats
in the sound of bees, a swarming,
the skinny bones in my chest
a ladder climbing down,
my body flushes, sweetness returning,
rhythm thick, pouring in, out.
Now a fox is yapping and whistling.
I feel his teeth grab my heart
soft as shrew with her own teeth
chewing roots, hungry too. I’ve eaten moss,
breathed river, touched death, it’s so still,
and seen how a single great-blue heron
is a form of light. The heavens have a saying,
but I don’t know what it is. Awake,
and soon again sleep.