West of the Fields

A tropical ecologist reporting from the field. Musings on life and art, botfly extractions, tropical plant identification, beer, parrots, machetes. Etc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For Phyllis, October 2012

The way that water holds the shape

of a hull for a moment after the ship passes,

then falls inward to embrace

the absence.The light of afternoon in the grasses,

the lull of crickets slowed by time and cold.

You saw the world as it was, the fastest

shutter speed, the oldest joke in the book. When he told

me you were gone, dear soul, sailing out beyond

reckoning,beyond any anchor-hold—

how the day dimmed. A greatness gone. I could shout

after you over that blue-black shivering expanse

and nothing, not even an echo, would return. About

five years ago, in your sunroom, I had the chance

to ask how you first met. You told me

of a hike in the White Mountains, the intense

brittle solidity of the cold. And on one ridge you could see

snowflakes appearing all around you, out of the air,

"just popping into existence from the clear air, suddenly..."

Everything you loved about this world, it's still there,

only you've moved beyond it. Fog banks stand

there past the outer islands. In the sunroom, your chair

is empty, the light comes down. Your hands

on the tiller, this water underneath the hull, memory.

Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?

Ici, ici, ici.


At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, dear Susan - What lovely words you have written here. They warm my heart!


At 10:38 AM, Blogger Cris said...



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