We friends learning each other carry stories–
being told them, telling them ourselves–
and speaking for myself moving
like a thief to steal this or that one
from pockets of thin air–
and we trade one chapter for another
in the corner coffee spot: talk reveals things,
But I am in between the moments
as treetops gather and release
sweet bits of sun, gold gleanings of time.
Gratitude spills from our lips
while in me an ache drifts by, a pale feather.
Loss bleeds, though I say only that
a sorrowful message came early today.
Strange how one thing begins, another leaves off;
breathlessness coexists with breathing;
victory is won for some as others flail in darkness.
That one may have left the earth without
one’s hand in another’s–this thought stabs me–
and that hope is held close until there is nothing
brave enough to prop it up against emptiness,
so is abandoned:
this is not what I speak about.
That knowledge slips through a safety net
of words that holds fast the fragrant coffee shop
and moors me–and others–to the ordinary world.
But later on, when on my walk unspooling in the hills,
there are pines that offer themselves
as protection against wind’s wounding
and my legs and heart propel me to the crest,
November cold ripening, roughing my skin.
And as I pause in a swath of sunshine there
comes a whistle through a maze of branches
that holds, a moment, then releases your name.
But I hear it, feel it as I stand alone by the road,
and it’s like a passing train on a high ridge