How The Journey Begins
Because the journey always begins near an over harvested forest
Filling with expansive patches of snow
You can still imagine the wide open clearing
And how you stood, your breath rising
A thin white awning in front of you,
Like a fragile veil that might evaporate in the sunlight.
There are nights torn open still, you awaken to a blink of street lights
Trying to conjure up the image of a distant forest
The sibilants of a language that once you
Knew. But the memory is always problematic like falling snow
At the end of a slow epic movie, and when most people rise
To leave the theater you remain trying to see a clear
Picture of what moved you, the fleeting final shot, a table cleared
And an empty kitchen, or just the lights
Coming up again, the gentle collapse of the rose
Colored curtain. There are wrongs as thick as forests
And days when you can't help but return to a snow
Filled country. There exists no calender for you
What happened, happened often without documentation, and you
Have no real idea how many days passed—clear
Nights punctuated only by a brief snow
Fall in early spring, and a glimpse of a sudden shaft of light
Pouring through an open trap door near a thicket at the edge of a forest.
As silent as steam the monks still rise
For matins. And you too woke and rose
To the whisper of their cloth as it brushed against you.
For nearly three years you lived near a thinning forest
In the remains of a wine cellar knowing that clearly
There are places where a heart can starve for want of light
And that the rescue of entire lives might be made possible by snow.
Years later in a field you saw a horse marked abstractly by snow,
Grazing behind a fence where the land begins to slowly rise
Away from the sea, only bottles of colored glass in the window catch light
Masquerading as the shades of wine that kept you
Company. No matter how hard you try to clear
Away that part of memory, you can't remember the word forest
In that language. Other words rise so lightly
And fall like snow or ash through a clear sky
But forest is the one you want, the word you have forgotten.
© to the author 1983-2010