The king takes a ride down small rapids in the Cahaba River as lily pilgrims flock through
the shoals. Photo credit goes to Kevin Gray.
If only the absence of the co-worker whose life’s dull plot
you know by heart,
or the shiny nose on the tiny bust of the great dead man
on the lobby wall.
Lean away from the desk, instead toward the window, its view of a bend
in the tracks where the bullet trains whoosh by, blurring
present and past and the many years you hope to have ahead.
Then walk home at a loll, letting the lush profusion of nasturtium
and the sound of the phrase itself re-instill the loyalty to beauty
that work downplays, savor the way trout tune their flex to turbulence
to survive the whitest water, as well as the triumph of mystery
in the stutter-step flight of a common butterfly,
which evades understanding and so ensures the simple questions
will continue to be asked, for example, how does it fly and did your wife know
by placing the pot of night-blooming tobacco at the back door
in her absence its perfume would moisten your sleep
until her return; and isn’t it luck that each ladder in the cherry orchard
wedges so safely against a tree of almost any shape,
long marriages are like that;
and the urge to be wholly known, the places it takes us,
the villa among the black pines where the table out back is laid for two,
you and a beloved, sweet cakes, warm milk, and ten sorts of dates await you
when you rise refreshed from the blue dreams of early morning that waft
like smoke out the bedroom window, open to allow the breezes of love
to envelop you all night long—can you recall the way?