I must be enjoying my sixth of seventh life by now,
watching the orange, early morning sun
gleam thickly through the fabric of an evergreen
as the smoke churns dark and sap-like up,
then wafts away from the chimneyspout.
In the past , when I heard people talk about
how a place becomes a part of you,
I always thought that they were being metaphorical,
but right now I can feel this orange and tender light
taking a position inside of me--
painting a stripe of phosphorescent,
pumpkin-colored warmth along one wall
of the inside of my skull. I can feel
the washed-out scarlet of these winter fields
becoming an ingredient
of my personality,
the way that in the noisy urban center
of every molecule of chlorophyll,
one atom of magnesium resides,
as quiet and essential as a church.
Seated in appreciation of this calm,
in the easy chair of my appreciation,
I have a view of what has brought me here--
not just the landscapes I’ve survived,
not just the blind motion of the waves,
but what I grasped and made a part of what I am--
a second nature, scavenged from those things
I chose to love or fear.
There was a sycamore in Arizona I cared
enough about to take into my heart, and now
I hear the wind moving through its branches
just below my clavicle. There was a kiss
that changed the history of my mouth--kiss
that was a courtship, marriage and divorce
sandwiched in the thirty-second intersection
of her lips and mine. When I look
at all the odds and ends I’m made of,
I think some kind of
on pilgrimage to god knows where,
humming a song as he lumbers through the forest
of the middle of his life.
His left eye still remembers
a sunset that it saw in 1964; his right
beholds the snow upon a branch
with so much childish love
it threatens continually to break
the rockpile of his heart.
But he keeps going on,
half-thrilled and half-appalled
by his own strangeness--wondering what god
he could be fashioned in the image of?
What handiwork of what mad scientist?
--Tony Hoagland here