Winter Wind

Tree in the field

Sharp. Dark. Blue wind. 

I might keep writing in brackish tones like this

if it weren’t for the three asleep in the other room, one of whom is snoring.

I hear a drum, too, although it could be a plow, an errant line in the darkness,

plow blade thumping the curb.

There’s nothing else for sound except the clock

but that’s always had a tick like water dripping

from the rain gutter of the house next door.

And it isn’t even raining.

And it isn’t even snowing.

The wind, which is not breath,

or substance, or seen,

dried and scattered the clouds,

sent them scrambling beneath the stars.

I’ve been here before, again, under the blanket, six inches from the icy wind behind the wall.

Blind memory.

Except for the three in the other room, one of whom sighs in two steps,

I would be an absolute

of aloneness

because sometimes this city seems like a closet already crammed

with fine hanging clothes.

And I’m a little torn.

The wind rises up now.

I hear it, like I hear the rub of this felt-tipped pen on paper.

Thoughts never fall first from one’s head. Already, they are renewed, even before they are memory, while they hover behind the slow pen scrape of half cursive.

Because of T.S. Eliot,

I recognize this fool’s language, chatter of old, old people, the overlap of time,

Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,

Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.

And that’s what I wanted to say,

What I meant to say is

I don’t belong here.

And now I’m all full of paradox moving

to be still knowing

by not knowing.

In the theatre of darkness I know

winter has been indecisive this year

and the rake and the shovels have leaned together against the house for months.

The fast wind that signaled night and darkness and all this solitude,

despite the three fully warm bodies breathing their astounding lives in the other room,

swept up the rake, carried it ungently across the yard, the tool of its furrowed trail. At once, it, the wind, erased the circle and pause of rabbit tracks to and from

the blank garden

where I’d tossed the carrot peelings.

What, Mr. Eliot, would you say of this wind?

What would you say of the gutter drip of the clock?

What would you say about belonging?

Would you say to belong one must not belong, one must wander unmoored?

Because of the three in the other room, so silent now at the still point, I cannot wander. I don’t want to wander.

Must I then become the belonging, like a tree in a field, over centuries?

Go to. Come with. Stand still.

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