—after Jim Harrison
The wine and whiskey, I am certain,
do not compliment the anti-depressants,
as well as I wish they would; yet, “all this time
counting the mind, counting crows”—
I pour a new glass with a touch of ice
to begin this conversation:
Hell has come to us as a heaven
we will never know, like Sappho’s apple
dangling slightly beyond our fingers
which grasp only at still air.
Where do we go when things fall apart?
In 1978, Buddha’s birthday
was three days after my eighteenth.
I was a crumpled bag of emotion:
my father had died two months earlier;
I was in love (and still am) with the girl
I would marry. I moved, two months later,
125 miles to the north, leaving my hometown
forever, yet still trailing all my doubts and fears
behind like crows along a fence line
who caw and flutter, marking
their constant presence with darker eyes.
We think we can escape ourselves,
ignoring the crows flying in and out
between the twisted oaks nearby.
We flee burning madly as we go;
yet, we can only be ourselves,
and, most days, that is not enough
to keep our fears balanced tightly
like circus clowns spinning plates
atop long fragile poles through the night.
(September 15, 2021)