poeta fui, e cantai
Cat’s-eye agate, this sky between rains—
It has a style too high for poets,
Too low for astronauts, and just right
For contrail-tracing passenger jets,
Ubiquitous, not quite iconic,
Too common to call nostalgic yet.
I have been a passenger. Mostly,
I just watch from down by the wayside,
In the haze of a data-crazed age,
Seeking calm and, counting, not counting,
Weaving long lines threaded with numbers,
This shuttle that balances my days.
Incredible what we’ve kept aloft—
Thousands of years of commentaries,
Impossible beliefs birthed as faiths,
Narratives floating like spiderlings,
Gossamer parachutes on the breeze,
Engorged heavier-than-air machines,
Vast bellies swelled with people or bombs,
Cargo or sensory equipment
Made for collecting information
From the atmosphere, the way baleen
Gathers krill and plankton from the sea.
I say we. These carbon pods seeding
Bare skies with human technologies
Have not burst into flower thanks to me.
This atmosphere, gravidly empty,
Can sustain, ignore, or condemn me
Who is not a cause but consequence
Of things, one branch of a tree that sings.