The Apertures of Morning

Yawn, oh great cloud break

not witnessed in the pre-dawn

opening above


The breath of owl song

a thread through trees, pushing soft

making sound-cut spaces


Tilt of the orbit

positions a planet near

closer to the moon


The woman pauses

never noticed that before

Looking up, surprised


There are slim chances

brief windows, prime conditions

sap rise, season shift

Burgeoning, winning

the thrust of diving hawk flight

cutting through the fields


unspool the wires

use the hammer to break glass

open up the line, please


She felt it, knew it

Somewhere over the mountain tops

where Chance is slow born


Full crowning takes years

and it’s easy to forget

we are in birth-time


dailyness of days

the whirlwind blur not seeing

but, moving forward


Sometimes the movements

are small, stuck tight round and round

some motion skitters


There are tangles, traps

vines of kudzu, busy

forever tending

pull back your shoulders

throw your fist in living air

you are really free


Find moments of breath

to see the shape of wind waves

carve dances in trees


The gods sleep gape-mouthed

Crawl in like a dream, settle

as a prayer-thought


They will wake with you

in the turning of the winds

the spinning of time


when widening luck

and rich configurations

clear the space ahead

Also worth noting:

It is muscadine season again. This one is a bronze variety, a rare double grape.

This palindrome felt like good luck. The number 99 bracketed by the 3s that multiplied make 9 – a very satisfying arrangement.

2 thoughts on “The Apertures of Morning

  1. To plant nasturtium
    bury the seeds deep to wait
    away from all light

    Soak them in water
    if you want to play like God
    mimic the spring rain

    Notice, important
    the way the hulls look like brains,
    gonads, ovaries

    You don’t know just yet
    what color the blooms will be
    only that they will come

    at least you hope so
    pushing finger, tunneling
    making birth canals

    A cluster, no rows
    the edge of the fence, near gate
    a constellation

    stretch of sunny days
    unfurl like sweet promises
    of orange, maybe red


    You pull the grass rough
    grimace and claw, rip, tear, pop
    rhizomal network


    How can I tell you, my dying mother
    that you will turn to a bright comet soul
    upon death, when the body becomes other
    a wish to stay is the most futile goal

    Your gaze to the edge of the field is long
    hands clasped tightly, holding luminous ropes
    “What?” she says, “I will miss life. Is that wrong?”
    the mortal’s love spans all lands of false hopes

    Yet, I am certain that with final breath
    you will see, your eyes untethered at last
    it’s true: the dead miss nothing upon death
    we all become like comets flying fast

    The falling star does not cling to the night
    even unseen, it shines then dies bright

    To say you are the bones of your old hands
    metacarpals, nails bent, a dying liver
    the blood and substance of ancestral lands
    in veins that cross flesh branched as a river

    to call yourself by the knots of your spine
    looking in the mirror at the face you know
    not catching reflections, simple lines
    the arrow fallen away from the bow

    You are convinced that the name they gave you
    bundled mass of cells and new beating heart
    is somehow yours eternal and most true
    from which you can and never will part

    Your real name is a whisper on warm wind
    the chorus of all ever to ascend

    [i am learning about sonnets, and appreciating that there is a proper form of things that one must learn before taking liberties in breaking form. I have made notes lately. I will share them soon. I feel like I need a whole day to write. A whole week. Maybe a whole life.]

  2. I have been tired this week. On Sunday, I did a 15 mile hike with my son and my friend. 3000 feet of elevation gain over three miles at the beginning of the day, moving up through mountain-side rhododendron at a 50% grade, noticing how the exertion made me feel angry, how I was resentful of the route my son had planned. That was just my mind, doing what minds do – which is find things to be unhappy about when things are challenging, focusing in on threats and difficulties. I tried to pay attention to my breathing and keep it steady, in through the nose, out through the nose, deep deep breaths to get all the way down to the lower lobes of my lungs, to nudge my parasympathetic nervous system, to stay calm and not panic.

    Breathlessness can be a difficult sensation for me.

    When I was six, i ruptured my spleen in a fall from a leaf swing on Christmas Day. The breath was knocked out of me, but we didn’t know that I was really hurt until an hour later when I was laying on the couch and could not breath due to the press of spilled blood in my internal body cavities putting pressure on my lungs. During my adolescence, I would have frightening episodes of not being able to breathe if I was nervous or making out with someone, and several times I went to the emergency room where they put the pulse ox monitor on my finger and told me that I was fine, that I actually could breath.

    It took me a long time to wonder if my teenage attacks of breathlessness were connected to the trauma of my injury when I was 6.

    There were spiderwebs in all the branches going up the Green Mountain trail, small cups of webs holding dew scattered all over the ground. There were no spiders, only webs – hundreds and hundreds of them catching the light of the morning. I tried to take pictures, but spiderwebs holding dew are one of those things that really can’t be photographed in a way that accurately conveys the fragile, eerie beauty of a meticulously created object that will only exist for a brief moment of time in the sun of a new day, that might not be seen by anyone else.

    After the first mile of nearly straight-up climbing, the trail leveled over small sections of ridgeline, and the rhododendron gave way to laurel that gave way to Fraser fir and red spruce, dying hemlocks. The ground was covered with reefs of moss and the spongy duff of needles fallen over many years.

    The trail was a big loop that crossed through ridge top conifer forests that were dark as twilight and opened out onto balds covered with late-season huckleberries, drying grasses, and whole sloping fields of goldenrod that swayed in the air from the small winds made by the wings of bees and the weight of wasps landing on the yellow flowers whose color is the clarion of summer ending.

    Since that hike, I have been tired. I woke up anyway. Everyday. Got up to go to the track at the middle school to run silent circles in the dark of early morning before any faculty arrives at the school, to center in breathing and see the stars, to listen for the screech owl and to watch my own thoughts, to try to not think.

    Work has been uninspiring lately, with nobody showing up for the workshops I’ve been doing, nobody showing up for the listening sessions that I organized and promoted. It’s like the universe is telling me: nobody cares about you doing this. You are wasting your time.

    This morning, I considered the possibility of staying in bed. It rained all night and is raining still. I had dreams about my grandmothers house with the porches sheered off and the roof painted white like the walls and the azaleas growing up gnarled and thick against the trunks of dying oaks, a set of gas pumps installed in the small field by the fence.

    I’ve dreamt of home a lot lately, the landscapes I grew up in – river and pasture, dirt road. These places are always changed in my dreams, never mine anymore.

    There was a phrase in the early morning:

    the waves will not remember

    That has 7 syllables. I will need to add it to a haiku if I can find two 5 syllable phrases that are worthy of it.

    The hull breaking them

    breaking through

    finding land

    Blood mixed with water

    There are so many words.

    I have made verbal declarations lately. I want to be a poet. I need to learn. To take myself seriously. To study. I need to have a singular focus. To work at this one thing, to set all other professional endeavors aside to the extent that I am able to.

    This is something I realized running in the early morning, which I think is becoming part of my writing practice, to run and to think without thinking, make a quiet space for what I know to surface and become clear.

    Last year, I entered a contest to quit my day job and pursue my dream job – but, I didn’t really know what my dream job would be, and I’ve spent the last year figuring that out, trying different things, feeling out the viability.

    All I am, most truly, is a poet.

    I don’t care what I do for money, so long as I have space and time to write.

    Writing and paying attention and memorializing the ephemeral, trying to document the lessons that are imprecise and quiet truths that come to me in the early morning, being amazed at the ways that tree tops hold themselves, the patterns of the rain…these things make my life worth living.

    My elder cat is dying. A cancer in his stomach. This morning he had what looked to be a tear caught in the fur by his right eye, and I wiped it away, rubbed the tear between my fingers until it dried.

    I ran today in rain and looked up smiling and eyes closed as the cold water hit my face, hit my eyes.

    I am so grateful to be living.

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