Poetry - January, 2010

Poetry

De-icing the plane

A small black truck huddles
behind one wing, buried in a shroud

of smoke. Exhaust fumes? fire?
No. A cloud of detergent

billows over the plane. When every suitcase
is stowed, every seat belt buckled,

and the runways plowed, the black truck
sidles up again, the airport’s winter “familiar.”

The silver bird, with floury faces ovalled
on its side, slithers into a blizzard, hugely blind.

No mincing steps, no Lot’s wife here.
One hesitation could mean death

ablaze on a snowy superhighway. Everyone
prays, “Up, up,” to the engine’s crescendo,

like sparrows sudsed in a birdbath
just before flight.













Poetry

Horatian salutation

Reader, here is no know-nothing
muddle-mouth grinning till his time’s up,
       nor this month’s charismatic hotshot—
                 let’s be glad for that.
Nor is it time for deeper, troubled things,
     the heaviness of swollen hands
that knit our sweaters or underfed
teenagers who look like my six year old,
sweet in his warm bed.
                               Shall I go on, then, or end it?

It’s not even an occasion for lyrical
greatness (who can bear or hear it?), or honoring
the slain and scars of veterans
                (how to sustain it?) or excursions
on hermeneutical wings along the Word.
Or less estimable, more complicated forms
                                            of happiness:
breathless days when we became better
                 than ourselves,
                                as if awaking from a dream.

Let other songs bless or curse with big decibels.
I leave this business, such as it is,
to higher-minded poets or tireless annalists.

I sing simply of Love, of grace, and those graces
who are your friends, warm with life and giving
               you grief, playfully—these late evenings in December.
And I sing of such beautiful people, even closer,
safe and asleep nearby, here and there, her
                             and her and him, so pleasing
and peace be with them,
and you too, Reader, you too.