- As It Is
Monday's gray stasis. As is. If I could accept what is, as is, the way it is. The sky, the weather, the weeds, the silence from my son, the lack of rain. The day's gray arrival. My sister. My brother. How beautiful the small wedge I see of the volunteer butterfly, this year not pale lilac, but rosy, red-violet. No blossoms yet on the trumpet vine—does it need another year to bloom? How long can we wait for it, for the variegated yucca, the slow growers in this garden? Yesterday was cold the way August [End Page 133] sometimes is: bleak, gray, blowing hard. Is it fair to want from someone only what they can't give? Is it fair to refuse to learn anything of what someone wants of you? Tell me your story and I'll ignore it, act as if you never spoke. Should I do the flowers today? Flowers followed by a dose of weeds. First cut the flowers, then gather weeds as if they were precious. The sun moves blithely through the rituals of everyday. Who can imagine a break in reality's rites? Even disaster is a ceremony for which we are well rehearsed, a will to darkness imbibed at the breast, wordless and blue and sweet as mother's milk. The hummingbird at the feeder sips and sounds, suckles. Last night the pinkening sky sprayed with long skeins of black birds— can autumn be coming? It can, it is; so is unfinished summer: coming and coming, staying, going, recurring the way all the moments of our life, our death do over and over in our lives: the moment of blindness, the moment of recognition, the moment something in us begins to dissolve into the world's air and color and form, achieves for a moment the terrible freedom of being outside ourselves, the moment of utter solitude.
Sandra Kohler was born in New York City in 1940. She attended Mount Holyoke College (AB, 1961) and Bryn Mawr College (AM, 1966, and PhD, 1971). From 1969 to 1976 she taught in the English department at Bryn Mawr College. Since then, she has taught literature and writing courses at levels ranging from elementary school to university and adult education. Her work has been widely published in journals such as American Poetry Review, the Colorado Review, the Gettysburg Review, the New Republic, and the Southern Review. Her first collection of poems, The Country of Women, was published in 1995 by Calyx Books. Her second collection, The Ceremonies of Longing, was the winner of the 2002 Associated Writing Programs Award Series in Poetry and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2003.