Wednesday, September 16, 2015

World News Tonight (2002)

The day darkened blue grey and poured down
rain on the world earlier today.
Grass grew under the wet heat
and the cool sweet rush of air before
the lightning shook the trees in thunder.
More rain is expected tomorrow and tomorrow.

Last week's storm exploded the bark off
a respected, two-hundred-year-old walnut
and blew the ground up off its roots.
Though reported critical, it seemed to have survived —
counting its decades more patiently than most —
but during the week it weeped off young leaf clusters
in a slow, uncontrollable rhythm, barely perceptible.

The grosbeaks come to join the singers and peckers,
the bullies, the meek, and other proud birds at the feeder.
A single thrush ate and trilled, delighting onlookers
while the old man who grooms her left clumps of Bessie’s
black hair on the low garden wall near the house.

People in the house are studying for final exams,
the Prom at the Plaza, and the deepening, anxious sadness
of parents’ imprudent end-games.

The May flies are gone, but hundreds of damned mosquitos
emerged from standing water, roamed the heavy air last night
and sucked life out of unwitting hosts. Dozens have been killed
in continuing hand to hand violence
while others are simply chased down and disappeared
by roaming gangs of bats and swallows.

Locusts bloomed and dropped their supple yellow flowers
in two short days a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday
their primordial green leaf fronds sifted leisurely
shadows from the light of the late afternoon.

Bessie had a bloody, near-death spell of
diarrhea and vomiting last evening
and woke her alpha at 3:06 am after a guilt-ridden dream
of fighting in shallow excrement on a despairing, humid day.
She hunched and stumbled about outside,
poured out the remainder of her bowels and wretched
a neat pile of curds in the darkness. She’s still a dog.

On a personal note, I ran my hand under the blown off bark shroud
still hanging fresh on the walnut and was stunned to experience
the electric thrill of its smooth, damp cambium. I admit
I took pleasure in the tips of broken capillaries
looking like freckles on its exposed supple flesh
in the quiet morning light.

By this afternoon it had turned wet black.

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