Summer is waning but winter is staying well away. One more giant squash and two handfuls of beans. A final blueberry. No more strawberries. The local newspaper runs a story about recovered buried guns, disturbing because of the reported reaction of the 'powers that be.' Hurricanes approach. The Republicans are digging themselves deeper and deeper into the cesspool of inane and dangerous thinking. Schools are back in session, the sunflowers have bloomed themselves to seed, and the trash on the street has gone from sofas to TVs. Not sure why TVs, including some large flat screens, are showing up curbside, but there it is.
As for me, I am confusedly preparing for winter by trying to remember rain.
What goes and What returns
Awake for much of the night, my little dog
bark-barks at shadows, hoping to show me
he’s taking care of business, on the job . . .
I’ve been working – on the road too early,
home late. The hours in between seem long –
to him, to me. He sleeps the in-between,
wakes as it grows dark. I need rest. He barks
and I toss about. When the trains start up,
I know the sky will soon slide silver gold
and I’ll again be trekking down the road.
Between here and there, brutal traffic –
monster trucks blowing smoke, broken pavement,
potholes not to be believed, impatience
anchored fast to speed. I keep windows closed,
crank up the air, tune the radio to jazz.
The first few miles – Stan Getz, with a tune
recorded just before his death, new to me,
but each note floats out wide, and warmth folds me,
holds me, pulls me back to another hour
when I sat, listening through a sheltered light
as he played the sun to bed, coaxing night
to open its arms, ask the moon to dance.
He played for himself alone, not knowing
I sat below, rocking slowly, crooning
to my baby boy drowsing at my breast.
Samba smoothed rough edges from that night,
and I breathed joy as each note slid easily
beneath the swelter of the sun, keeping
the light in shimmer some seconds longer
than the charts had predicted it should be.
Heart music, I thought then, and heart music
I think now, feeling those rounded tones rise
above shrill trucks and taillights going red.
His sax floats above traffic’s razor edge,
wrapping the raw rake of steel on concrete
and holding back the muffled roar of ice
sliding blue and breathless into the sea
somewhere far far away yet close enough
to catch our breath, rewrite our future dreams,
advise us this: attach your hearts to song
live for now, for then, for however long.