The stillness of the street along the river,
the exhale of the last light and the gold before it.
A small boat knifing the water.
These ways we learn to endure, without promises
or permanence. This forgetting of particulars.
As for the night, it too is steady
and gentle as the hand that releases the asp.
Three years I lived on the street where evening
lulled in to a solo violin. Bach talking in my ear
from a high window while I brewed
the night’s coffee. Where I would lie
in the middle of the empty road, not thinking
of renunciation. I came to learn pleasure as a choice.
As the slow unlearning of wrongness.
As the giving in, finally, to fear.
To irrecoverable time. Talk of freedom is only talk
of forgetting, which is a gift I never had.
Tonight I have no desire for answers.
Only to lay each moment of letting go
carefully on the table. To give in to small happiness,
as somebody calling to the cat before the storm.
To the pleasure of the bird as she lands
on the awning fed and singing.
Comfort is knowing time happens at once.
A correctness to our regrets, our anxiety
to look back. So specifically human
this desire, to live day to day without fear of loss.
I am sitting by the fireplace now, the rain
coming down before the night does. Having undone
any thought of going back as I did unchanged
to the simple life. Though I’d have it all again.
The happy routines, luxury of ignorance. Knowing
we continue no matter who is howling.
Like the god of music, who continues
in the wake of such destruction. Who sings
in between all that violence.
In a Tranquil Period
1 February 2018