POETRY: The Mystery Of Things Inextricably Bound by Anita Wilkins

The Mystery Of Things Inextricably Bound by Anita Wilkins

What someone gave me, years ago, without knowing
he did it, without intending to, was the earth again.
But now I’ve given it away—again. Silences in gullies
I can’t listen to, the whisper of a turning leaf
that’s not loud enough to reach me anymore.
Even the crash of the surf would not be loud enough.
Moon burns her hole in the monthly sky, and I see her,
but I don’t see why she does it for me anymore. I don’t
want it, that scorched sky leading down to whatever won’t
let me pass, anyway, seeing me traitor and indifferent.
What happened to that wholeheartedness that wanted
earth in my arms, its trees, its grass, rocks, the high
shine of its rivers, the soft underglow of shadows
wherever they rested before they had to move on?
I mourned Chernobyl in the grapes of Greece we could
not eat that year and the beach stones we could not
touch. The sky, cursed, the stretched soul. Wherever
rain fell it was not kind anymore. It was like one more
loss in an avalanche of losses, and I learned to turn
away. I gave love elsewhere, even where nothing
came back to me, and I dropped my hands, time after time.
Because, it seemed, I had to stop learning. It seemed
I had to stop wanting. Trees drew the doors of their
branches closed. Water had no depth. Lizards became
rocks, their bright eyes closed against me. Earth, open
yourself for me. Rocks, breathe and blink, see me.
I don’t know what to offer you from this emptiness.
I’ve forgotten what paths the soles of my feet made,
what calls of crows my ears understood, magpies’ tongues.
Yet, like the owl’s house,
something begins to build around me,
lining itself for my sake. And the mother’s soft hootings
float down the hillsides with the last brushes of light.

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