by Scott Hartwich
Some were patient and kept quiet. Others called to the stretch of moments
like water dripping.
He hadn't known time as a passing but as a movement,
the recognition of yes as in a turning back to the thinnest stream
of what had or not.
To the convincing lies he's been told:
he has holed himself in the reach,
throwing shade he knows well as the holes in his body the elements merging,
stunned to a steady tick.
At night the spinning begins and nothing in the sky lowers for me,
yet my untrained hands close on something ancient the instant relegated
to the past
all the revolutions come together, the flowers in my garden
Thompson roses, gardenia, lilacs sprung to their fullest color,
every strand of color flown apart from the body the mind's hand
dishing forth a day,
staining its events permission not granted but taken
so many days gone
in a few simple breaths the great injustice of an hour
pulling a separate night unto itself.
Take it back.
The great losses of his life, unspoken. The act of tuning left
sent them back but they return as pious grieving.
Say evolution, or synthesis. Say progression, yet the harvest was incomplete.
Look there-she waits at the appointed bench:
a trail of white, a litter of rings,
what the mind sees the body must feel, having never been less substantial.
Having never reached back in that way
there are things he would do over.
Balanced against the current he called to the boulders stacked
against the banks, to the crows hidden among firs jagging the sky's rim.
Pulling his voice safe in the late-spoken
This idea of counting rings: I have seen myself forward and back
working heartwood until the years yaw.
I will take that one and that one.
The others I leave to moss.
[Something frangible springs out of this growing hump.]
Have I been here before? Yes. I recognize the fine, tart sugar of your sap,
the woman waiting at the bench unsure of the time or her place
in this knowing filtered down
to roots that reach through earth
and startle bedrock, the subtle shift tremoring the glottis
I ask again
I will keep asking again
© 2007 prickofthespindle.com
Scott Hartwich drives a little bus for a living in Bellingham, Washington, where he also coedits a new journal called Greatcoat. His work has appeared in Colorado Review, Diagram, Cue: A Journal of Prose Poetry and countless other journals. By countless he means a few.