29 ½ Days
Before consonants, before vowels,
marks on wood, on bone, on cave
walls. Petrified, fossilized, faded.
Time to forage, to fornicate,
but when to migrate, to fish,
to feast without fear of famine?
Woman carries a calendar
at center, the egg’s monthly
exit spectacular. Man cannot
bleed like this and survive.
When her flow does not
return, her belly swells.
Man searches for other signs.
The celestial count begins.
Sun scars the eyes’ acuity
and weakens them for hunting.
Hail, Moon! Your mountains
and maria marvelous to behold!
Estimate the exact day of fullness,
followed by shadow’s curve.
A reckoning, a calculus, Newton
had not yet conceived. Keep track,
carve lines. Friction sparks intelligence,
fires the mind. Millennia later
we tap words on plastic keys,
unaware of north from south,
gibbous from crescent or croissant.
We melt grandfather’s pocket watch
for gold, honor an invisible atom’s
pulse. Cesium’s ceaseless sashay.
Early Morning in Late October
I hear them first, high
away in the fog,
cacophony in crescendo.
Each unseen push of vapor
a thrust downward,
wave of wingspan, struggle
without surrender. The oaks’
burnished leaves cling
in temporary elevation, soon
to shrink, brittle and dull. Suddenly
I see them, six geese
above me. In seconds
Has this small band fallen
behind? Or are they
the impatient ones,
urgent to reach
wordless instinct sharp? How
we, too, often proceed
without a clear view.
How we strain to hear
our wingless souls, risk
everything in rhythms ill-rehearsed.
o as in offering
ō as in opening
ä as in obligation
Vowels rise from dark places, their brilliant origin
emerging from black ink as shiny as cooled obsidian,
as mysterious as the opening of the birth canal.
The ovum transforms, outwitting all the swimming
orbs but one. The fleshy opus screams into life,
the mother’s words now obbligato to the child’s solo,
their voices in octaves like approaching oboes.
The orthodoxy of offering obedience to your own,
the yet-to-be written odyssey of each new being.
Better that she chose the fruit even if it meant
the omniscient obliteration from Paradise, outcasts
overruled. At least the obstinate possibility
of procreation still orbits with the cycle of the moon.
Each birth ordinary yet original. The night skies, a guide.
Polaris to the north and Orion to the south. On his belt,
celestial lanterns protected by his sword, a star nursery.
Clusters of dust and gases, an alpha and omega,
demonstrate the wordless language of the spheres.
From “Resonance” – a series of vowel poems
in the cupped fingers
of winter’s hands
Tree limbs hint
the lithe muscles
in forest landscapes
in spotlight splendor
Then, like words falling
from a lover’s breath,
chaos of shifting
A ballet corps
of shin, maple’s curve
to breast of bough
Dark screen of fir
(First published in Theodate, online poetry journal of the Hill-Stead Museum, Wedgewood Issue)