After Bena

SerpentMound

A future is not a past

A future is not now

Now is what I have

for a future

Green soft sweater

that mom gave me

today I might walk the track . . .

But even before that . . . .

Now I’ll work

Page by page

One page, one line

Hayden singing in swirls

around  a green soft

sweater

with a gravity-bound body

weighted under it

Now is hot coffee, a cigarette

Not yesterday, not last week, not Saturday

not last night’s darkness

Now is something of this morning’s

drive to work, a cigarette, ashes tapped out the window

human voices, talk, writing on the radio, sound cuddling a car

into a garage, swinging around to level four and couching into

 a place with grease dribbles unique to that part of the concrete

Something of John smoking outside the door, Monday, isn’t it?

A past is dead, has death in it,

will sink a person in search of it.

Remember this lesson.

The past is whole,

won’t be segregated from its parts

My mistake. A mistake.

Mistakenly taking the unctuous edge

for the center, the radiant warm center.

Rather it is an oozing wound

with fever on the edges

I saw. It glowed

like divine light, like bliss.

Now

And when a woman makes a mistake like this

She has to go on

Over the rocks to find a place

where she can try again, have another

chance, please, give her another

chance

And she can’t go back.

She must make a life for herself.

Must make a life wrung out of the old truths in her

–or not at all–

on the rock, old stone,

that shamelessly speaks its own inevitable truth.

It voice is deep.

Like a hurt woman.

I like it. I try to speak its truth.

It sounds of wisdom.

It enfolds the past

in understanding,

that lays to rest, still as an old stone

all that was

clangor

and rankle

Its voice is the kiss of a mother.

I try to speak like her

So . . .

thank you for a clean kitchen floor

for Baron’s clean bowl

for roses

that die beautifully, today

and tomorrow

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