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Jan 152014
 

by Anne Whitehouse

 

We lie on blankets in the grass

grateful for the scratchy wool

in the sudden chill of night

deep within the virgin forest

at a family reunion far from our homes.

 

Scanning the sky for falling stars—

there goes one! and there another!

Persistent trains, bright fireballs—

in the great immensity

a crescent moon crosses to Jupiter,

 

and snatches of conversation fly up

more intimate now

 

we are hidden in darkness

and can express what

we might not say otherwise.

 

At every instant we are

what we have been and will be,

our forebears who live on in us

we remember, we resemble.

 

Everything in the world is mysterious

formed of tenuous substances

evanescence and oblivion

the equivocal element of time.

 

With a stone I dug up a clod of dirt

a little farther away I laid it down silently

and under my breath I whispered

“I have changed the earth.”

 

The deed was minimal, the words exact,

and I needed a lifetime to say them.