Friday, November 12, 2010

172. Unencumbered by Sunlight

It is not what we put
away or keep
or throw away
or file or pile. It is what
we find and how
we find it.

Take the instance
of a moment of a leg
twisting in the undisturbed sunlight
of a small incline and in a state of
complacent pleasure. And take
the instance after it, when
the leg twists a moment further and shatters,
leaving your body above it to fall
(unsupported, so down)
onto the some green earth.
Gravity
takes it all out of us.

Maybe in your absence
I should put away
what you have left out,
this widening stratum
of your officed life:
letter, report, card, note,
empty envelope torn open
for some little touch
of the sheet inside it.
We cannot find, in the piles
you have made, what we
would look through them
for, and I can’t walk right
through the office.

I’ve lost grip of this poem.
Every poem, even a letter,
is a particular event of
imagination, and I cannot
leave it without finishing it,
or I may never return.

And you should keep
for twenty years the boxes
I have put all those papers
into until you won’t
imagine even what you
might look for within them,
so that the boxes will
represent your forgotten
but palpable past, what
you cannot abandon but
what you can never recall.

Shuffle through the sheaf of them,
and you won’t discover a thing.

One day you held
an unencumbered day
on a quiet Adirondack slope
and the slightest torquing,
the weight on your leg
just perfectly off, took you
away from the simplest path
through your future, a small
path through the paper
in gentle heaps across
the floor. But everything
remained, nothing was
ever lost, and we never
tried to find anything
within it ever again.

There is a pleasure
in not finding what
we’re not looking for.
It is as if we have not
lost anything at all.

Tomorrow, it seems,
will be a day sunny
but cool. There’s beauty
in this quiet river outside
the window, and maybe
we’ll walk along it
just to see how our lives
might change from it.

We might find nothing but
the sun on the river or
a sense of something moving
more slowly than it seems.

Still,
it will be a finding.

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