My Way Through The Day
A cactus sits on my windowsill
beyond my understanding—green, thorny
and simple to see. Today I am not a victim
of knee-jerk realism. The sound
of children playing outside helps me hear
my way through sunlight. Dogs bark
in the distance. All the light that breaks
through the clouds tethers to the trees
in my upcast eyes. When I step outside
barefoot there is no one to remember
or know, no concern to match my leisurely
stroll down the sidewalk. I am not an object.
I am a pattern of laughter woven into spring
and summer, born of the wind and the passing
song of a car stereo. Everyone comes
and goes this way, rippling out from a spiny
center. I bend the limbs of the crepe myrtle,
slipping bark between my fingers.
My neighbors make their regular stops,
eat dinner, while mountains wear down to sand.
The Way It Is
You and I are driven to the same sin
from the same source in each of us, a thirst
that will live in others after we’re gone.
We are our appetite as it abides
in our bodies. It locates us. Your den is adorned
with bottles—the worst wine from the cheapest
year. I light up a joint on the patio and stare
into the pattern of dirt that my feet left.
I am my right and my left when we dance.
We love the sleepwalking cycles of the sun
enough to call them ours. Nightfall comes
and a nation goes to bed. A hen goes to roost,
a dog circles his kennel, stars shine through
the clouds. Everything has a way about it,
and that way leads home. You fry
an omelet for me, for part of me. I wash
it down with a beer.
The leaves fall and the train runs and I bask
in the life I have already lived. I never fly
past myself except to return. Every fiber
of the dogwood grows alert, pressing
outward through the warmth of a new day.
The frost melts. My house is cluttered enough
to be lived in. I watch the world through my
kitchen window. The scrubby bushes
occur in the world but not in history, not among
Cesars and khans, presidents and tycoons.
I look down to see a mole burrowing
into the dirt. The ground is more interesting
than the sky. The cosmos of gravel
and humus reveals me as I peer into the skin
of the earth. My mind is a molecule floating
in a sea of sound. Somewhere in a hospital
far away newborn babies get mixed up
but not confused. Everyone comes home
to the same house. Summer and winter
only matter to the eyes that see out.
This day is the silence I forget to count.
Joel Fry lives in Athens, Alabama. He has had poetry published in Asheville Poetry Review, Plainsongs, Off the Coast, Eclectica and many other places. He enjoys solitude and much of his work comes out of that solitude. He has a blog called Susurrus Waking (https://wwwsusurruswaking.blogspot.com).