WHEN I WOKE I WAS HERE
The 98-year-old ancestral aunt tells how she arrived
at the care facility after her fall and hip repair.
We found her in the cafeteria eating a dry roll
and cold oatmeal. She describes her flight
while talking to our granddaughter:
Air Force One, oh my, what a plane.
Did you see it when you came in?
Oh,Lord, goodness. It's a plane.
There's nothing like it coming down.
And Obama, good God,
I never asked to be on his plane.
But he is, why Jim, tell Sammie,
he is the President, and that plane!
Well. I never expected
to fly on Air Force One.
Ethel was there. She died
when she was 83. My old partner
at the restaurant. She was right beside me.
And your mother, Jim.
Lucille was sitting on the other side of me.
We were all there. The three of us.
The plane itself was like cut in half.
I can't describe it any clearer than that,
how we got here. The plane.
To be on that plane.
It just broke in half.
I don't know how we landed.
When I woke up, I was here.
18 April--12 June 2016
TWO GARDEN MEDITATIONS
Karen likes to sit on her perch
on the deck, watching birds
feed in the birches, looking
down into the garden
where I have made my descent
placing my notebook
on the small table made from staves
from a wine barrel. Before
I followed Williams into Paterson,
when I was still following others
into Williams, the descent beckoned
and called and I knew the all of it
without needing to know more.
Decades before this sanctuary
became a promise. Descending,
I was able to live among, living close,
in shifting community, now shaded,
among shade trees with histories
going back to Dante. Karen sets
herself before birds, trees in ceramic
pots, and stones come from fire
and washed into strange stories
over tens of thousands of years,
one image of creation. Late morning,
in a chair with notebook and pruners,
I don't write much, but look up
at trees from below, getting up
from time to time, taking a branch
growing crosswise into a tree's interior.
Cutting it allows more light
to branches needing encouragement.
Both seats contain memories
accessing renewal of sorts.
We are done with accomplishment
even though we have chosen our places,
I chant, Ground the love! Ground the love!
11 June 2016