Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sunday Poem

My dream began in a park near a lake
that was fed and drained by culverts under
the fields depressed to gullies where willows
that had been pruned to stumps were beginning
to sprout again. The barn swallows circled
dogs who gave idle chase and who wagged
their frothed-out joy nonetheless. A man
who untangled a fishing line pressed a cell
to his ear with his free hand. Two women
in visors walked backwards. A deflated ball
bobbed on the yellow reeds. It was the one
frozen onto the lake in December. A shepherd
broke through the ice trying to get it. Gone. 
Then late in the summer as a stretch of heat
drove me into the basement. I behaved
as predictably as another argument ending
nothing inside our little house of mirrors.
I unrolled the mattress and a sleeping bag
onto the floor. I opened all the windows
and the door. I had finally reached the point
where I was willing to risk burglary, even
a personal injury to get some kind of breeze
into the house. And sure enough, sometime
during my sauna of sleep came the mercy
of pressure falling and of clouds gathering
into the glory of rain's hush onto the trees. 
After many days, the little lake spilled over
willow roots, gravel paths, knolls. The old
streams thought of salmon, the deft swipe
of a bear's claw. An eagle's ink-tipped talons
stretched for you—for me. Still our fierce selves
and still together in the fading light of dusk,
we stepped from the shore into the dark water,
but we knew that everyone must swim and dream
alone. Summer's bare sun returned; it heated,
simmered and stayed. People were begging—
some of us on our knees—for a good hard rain,
so we pleased each other like a deep blown
breath, because everyone feels better after that.
From Foreign Park (Anvil, 2015) by Jeff Steudal
(Painting by Mandy Budan)

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