Various and Sundry Poetry


if only for this plank of deck.
if only for this arrow of sun.
if only for this cup of flour, this couch cushion, this arch in the foot.
if only for eight in the evening.
if only for a measure of drumbeats.
if only for a dab of cold water on the face.
if only for yesterday.
if only for never.
if only for “how are you” and “come here” and “please”
if only for an hour’s nap, a scattering of birdseed, a full rotation of gears.
if only to remember the letters of my first alphabet.
if only for the deepening lines in my forehead.
if only for scars, for errors in judgment, for leaps of faith, for intuition, 

for fresh footfalls on an old path.
if only for a river of insects, electrified by early summer.
if only for the outline of mountain, the sketch of a word, 
the thinnest suggestion of moon.
if only for pound cake, for a flat of strawberries, 
a stiff wedge of cheese, a glass of pink lemonade.
if only for thirst.
if only for sleep.
if only for death.
if only for a climb to the waterfall, a clutch of fur in a pine tree, 
a story, a fable, a dream.
if only for the pit of one mango.
if only for a splinter.
if only for a soft hand on a sore shoulder.
if only for a purple shawl over an old bureau, a box of yellow tablets, 
a haircut, a hiccup, a headache.
if only for a dim but precise memory.
if only for lost and tragic language.
if only for an unsent letter, or too many letters.
if only for a late-night dance.
if only for a lie.
if only for the long and lonely walk home.
if only for a clatter of seabirds, the first bubble of coffee,
if only for drowsy, for hungry, for can’t get enough.
if only for love.
if only for stones skipping across a pond.
if only for a narrow light in the hallway at midnight.
if only for a single, slippery yes.

I must offer myself.
whole, shattered, fleshy, full of disaster and ache and fury and spectacular neglect.

here is a thing of beauty. I must take it.
here is a thing of sorrow. I must take it.
here is a body in all its innocence and failure. I must take it.
here is a raw heart, breaking but alive.

I must stay close. somewhere a piece of music is buried in the rubble,
a steam of fresh bread is rising from the oven,
a sliver of dust is flying toward the stars.