Five Credible Conclusions
by Ryan Sawyer
Free and finally able simply to sit
on the front porch and extend her bare feet
into blazing sunlight, she lets the lawn,
surging and tilting backward in the breeze,
carry her where it will. She tilts with it
into memory, floating over dim,
hardwood floors, paths she’d never seen before,
through the house and beyond, soothing herself
with images of how things might have been,
swimming a little in the summer air.
What light will follow this rain? The airy,
introspective white light of the north coasts?
Or will it be the sprawling, moist, breathy
Mediterranean yellow that lies
out languorously, warming our shoulders
and our meandering veins? Ah, let there
be something. Start with light, not a deadwood
sleep, a temperatureless sleep, dreamless too,
with here and there patches of body hair
silently fluttering like empty fields.
The odor of earthworms before a rain,
the faint moisture that aches inside the air
before a rain, the trickling in the ear
just starting: these are pinpricks of desire.
Eventually, the sky will crash. Asphalt
will darken and slide carloads up and down
amphibious routes. Some damp, roadside soul
will declare there never was an Eden
except in the poor, palpitating mind,
that love, like sin, is just a tangled web.
A lake heaves like any earthquake. On
the dock, you feel it, never really starting
or ending exactly, but just ongoing,
sloshing you around like a tiny cube
in a dark blue drink, the water’s white tips
lapping against the warm wood, back and back
again, lapping under your ear which rests
on warm wood, which presses against warm wood
and hears the water lapping, back and back
again, never really starting or ending.
When it’s all over, and historians
arrive to figure out how best to make
the apparent purposelessness of things
cohere, they work straight through the moonless night
to get it right, metaphor, myth, and all.
And when they depart, they travel along
an infinitesimally rising
trajectory, a glittering passage
lit by a thousand famous thoughts, and whack
at the overgrown grass with chiseled sticks.