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Saturday, 6 July 2019

turning season

Summer is gathering momentum,
almost as tall as wide,
in these weeks of July when even
the ocean starts to steam 
and predators grow bold
and we prepare for Teshuvah, the turning.

My mother is singing Hebrew melodies
over the white water, words swallowed by wind.
Black cranes gaze unmoving
into waves cracked by light.
A haze holds these sweeter scenes
in preparation for storms, or in their aftermath.
A film of sand on our feet means
we never leave this ground.

A one armed man in grief over divorce 
built the bones of the beautiful bungalow in the inlet
by the sea, now overtaken with weeds,
where we yelled and then ran for shelter,
where the stars first appear at dusk
and where the two of us suddenly made love
with nothing,
with the end,
and begged god to witness.

Back at the house the family is stretched out 
like a once full ballon
sitting quietly at this dinner table
less laughter, less air without him.

Come back to a place long enough
you begin to think it is only
full of endings.

But, when i pull the car onto the gravel
after days of drinking, and it is late, 
later than anyone can stay awake,
and i roll down the window smelling salt and cedar in the humidity--
a low engine starts up
in the gut of my heart.
A short field and then ivy and pines, hydrangea, 
beach plums and roses, blue jays
and cardinals with their eyes closed and beaks
tucked beneath their wings, bouncing
twigs and pockets where rabbits sniffle silently
below, where coyotes pad and prowl,
yip and scatch and skunks waddle home
with dirt on their snouts and roots in their
teeth and oh god the human beings,
tight bellied, buzzing electricity and prodding, 
the heat coming off of them, the way they stay just so close
and far, their skin with all its history, their strips of cloth 
all around, their complicated patterns 
of color and speech and memories they love so much.

How could we believe only in endings?
I have loved and she is gone away.
And I have unlearned many lessons that now
I’ll suffer to learn again.

But down the hill in shadow or
bright green day, kicking up dust or clumping
mud, crushing spiders’ legs or carving ditches
to house new creatures, with great cacophony and splendor
or quiet as the sharks sleep,
we are rolling on
with every imperfection you can think of
growing strong and weak at times
but always on,
accustomed, new, rhythmic, strange
dozing off at times thinking it’s all done
or all the same and then, sometimes predictably,
sometimes suddenly,
waking up to it all.

This season
you are not ending,
but turning.

Wake up!

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