- The Lost Year, and: Zeno
The Lost Year
After the storm, when the wind pulled downall that was high and dying from the trees,when the north blew out the candle of our home,our roof chipped, gutters flooded, it seemedso unlikely, the calm that followed, the strengthof blue, the kind of quiet a room possessesafter a banquet. Clouds passed like ships on fire.
And I thought of the lost year, the oneof the gaping summer, the tentative onethat opened up your body like a question.Tell me, if you can. What has the flesh taught you [End Page 67] in its difficult season. There are days,no doubt, that turn away the gift of knowledgelike a parcel with a clock inside.
Still you must admit. The road feels morespacious now, though more solitary,more uncertain. Stars gem the damaged branches.They clarify the gaps between. These nightsyou tug a little darkness to your chin.But then, what do I know. Only the spaceof not knowing, how near it is and always.
You dip your spoon into a bowl of milkto row across the white pool.You of all people understandthe blessings of appetite. You gape, you swallow,and the world keeps moving through you.It is the wind in the torch, the blood in the muscle.Go on, it says. Even without knowingnow, you die a little into joy.
The voice of the child you were,will you know it when it answersto your name. Will you cry out
in unison, even as the musicthere keeps recedinginto the hide-and-seek you call, [End Page 68]
for want of a clearer word,simpler, the way a line for instanceis simpler than a tree, though you
are calling from a tree, a heightthe winter cut down years ago,before your father and his frailty
were, like you, leaving you,the child, something of the earthhe crossed, of the history left
inside his voice, his broken voice,that dim day you both looked outat the small waves, the approaching
tide over the tide's withdrawalas if some sounds were quieterthan silence. Some distances arrive
without ceasing to be distance,which is how you dream your futurearrives, though it never does,
let alone the childhoodstreet your father called to, fallingsilent, or his part about the aunt
whose name escapes you—a second death,you say, without the solitudeof dying, without the grief
you almost outlive, slowly, countingfootsteps he could not know, like allthings here you swear will never end. [End Page 69]
Bruce Bond's most recent books of poetry include Peal (Etruscan P), Blind Rain (LSU P), Cinder (Etruscan P), and The Throats of Narcissus (U of Arkansas P).