Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Anonymous Triptych of Witness and Grateful


On your left, at dawn
we have this frame

of a severe hotel window,
looking over heavy grey

traffic to Timpanogos,
great serrated, snowy

blade of cold stone.
O! you are startled

by the spray of starlings,
their quick black specks

across that dense blue
hue of almost morning,

and the improbable
thought they provoke,

that our problem is,
we don't trust death.


Now here in the middle
canvas of lunch hour,

we have this vast
and vacant parking

lot pinned to the
ground like a dried,

gargantuan elephant
hide, good dead

asphalt under pale,
late-winter melancholy,

beside the white box
store abandoned by consumers,

shuttered for months with no sign
now of ever reopening again,

and on the horizon, green
balloons dance in a ring around

bright New and Used Cars,
the next grey lot over.

This the artist might
have called something

dreadfully arch
and sardonic, say,

"The Triumph
of Indifference,"

although we'll never know
whether such artists existed.


Last, late afternoon,
on our right, next

to the Lake, these tawny
stubbled fields, scattered

with robins and sparrows, we
see are here nibbled by ponies

and handsome red horses, right
where the woods are ribboned

with smooth paths for the cyclists
in helmets who waver along under

high clouds and low branches
of thick-tangled cottonwoods,

and you may, just out of
the corner, notice the Creek

shining! chain-mailed
serpent among the dim

paths and the gentle, forgetful,
half-forgotten trees, but

just a glance as you swerve
aside at the wraith

of a memory, so a nearness
to tears can reach your

stubborn, stubborn
eyes, and you realize you

are yourself, still, both
witness and grateful.

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