Torrents Become Us

for Fred

A window in the middle of the wall
is open; it is autumn.  On the sky
handfuls of wings are swinging home again
all brown or gray on simple paint-chip blue,
and all the leaves are yellow.  On the sill
the little garden sits and watches us.

We think:  “The fall stands drily before us,
with nothing saving us except this wall,
and tiny cut-out window with its sill
of basil.  We will fall into the sky
and drown ourselves in miles of harshest blue
ice-water till it snows.”  We look again

and this time it could almost snow.  Again
the breathed-on pane gestures to one of us:
“Come, smash my solid wasteland into blue
icicles, and be free;” I touch the wall
as if to certify how far the sky
is from my hand.  You grasp the painted sill

and laugh.  We’re looking south.  Out on the sill
a bird alights for seeds, and flies again
to find its hungry partner in the sky.
“It’s time to go,” we say.  It is to us
(to me) the perfect place, beside our wall
of dill and sage and basil, seeing blue

across the way—the neighbors’ shades are blue
as a swim-meet.  What is on their windowsill?
I wonder if they too stare through the wall,
and feed each other promises.  Again,
it’s raining now, and torrents become us.

Our sheets of water cover up the sky.

All through our sky,
cloud-hounds hunt down their scattered hares of blue
and sniff about the window, hot for us.
They have our scent, they whine, they scratch the sill,
they fade.  I see a clutch of birds again
sweep by to shelter, quiet, in the wall.

We huddle into us, next to the wall,
and, peaceful, find the blue of every sky
alive again upon our watered sill.



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