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THE MENEMSHA BELL/Michael Pettit Ah the world. And us here, in its winds and light, its distances before us like kisses we wish for at sunset, like some missed possibility, some failure to risk ourselves, a flightfrom. The big world, beautiful noon and night, moon and tides and Seabreeze which sets the Menemsha bell rocking and ringing, its clear rich note sounding from the ocean, from some deep blue reservoir of music. It rings and rings and rings and I would have you hear it, as it sounds out over harbor and boats, over low oaks and bayberry and rosa rugosa, over weathered houses glowing on hillsides, the Menemsha bell our ear knows like a pulse, blood ringing morning evening all night as we wake and listen in the moonlit and starry dark: acute music we can't refuse, come so far and so far to go. 108 · The Missouri Review ENDLESS NIGHTS OF RAiN/Michael Pettit Night faUs and with it, rain you hear fall and rise in pitch, slow then harder, like someone sobbing in a house nearby, behind the walls, under the roof rain drums and drips from steady as any river running over stones, sounding out day and night, low hiss like a fire of green wood, sap and smoke that makes your eyes burn, tears fall, and what is there for that but listening for the engines of sorrow to stop suddenly so you can hear in the distance some metal bucket ringing as rain falls and fills it, one bright note over and over all night long, and the night is long, endless, night of endless rain, endless nights of rain, one following the other without relief, nightfall and falling rain upon the black roofs, deep green leaves of trees, blue backs of birds, land mass of America, the vast ocean— all suffering the blessing bestowed in the dark you pray to end and are answereddawn comes. But the rain, the rain goes on. 109 · The Missouri Review THE WEATHER OF HEAVEN/Michael Pettit Cyclical, seasonal, variable by months, weeks, days, hours, does the weather of heaven change like here? Who knows? Not us. It's a question of not knowledge, but faith. Or imagination, a kind of faith no one believes in now. A cold front blows in, spitting rain, sleet, snow as the degrees drop and the leaves wither, evergreens of heaven weathering change. Was it heavenly hot, back in summer— cirrus, stratus, cumulus drifting past in black rafts or isolate in the sky? And the wind, that comes from ... ? And goes ... ? Pollen rides the air, and faint sweet odors arrive—scent of lemon, rosemary, sage. But to whom? If a storm broke in heaven and no one was there—humans, animals, the least chickadee huddled on her nest? The whether of heaven, we here wonder when the sun burns our world up, when floods rise up through houses while we watch from rooftops. And thus doubt. Even on the fairest day, a fall benevolent beyond beUef, beautiful birches, beeches, maples in flames. The whether of heaven, the whence and where and who under skies dawn and dusk turn red, signal of something, ring around the moon The Missouri Review · 110 announcing snow tomorrow, announcing a white world, without one track leading there or leading back, and the skies blue, blue, blue. Michael Pettit The Missouri Review · 111 THE RED SWING/Michael Pettit Now I come to that point—the cool gray day in late summer I cease to believe the fallen are worth saving. No longer will I search through the windfall, turning and turning smooth red fruit—to find the pitted side, side the porcupine has gnawed at night, side gone brown, soft, moist as the earth. Early long-faUen fruit rots everywhere, blackening, melting back into sweet soil, above the fragrant Utter fruit flies hovering, ants and bees and wasps crawling and feeding, breathing the almost acrid air I breathe at night, sitting on the red swing, feeling the apple limb above me give and rise, give and rise, expiration and inspiration, alternate night and day, cold stars and sun, and nothing to do for it, nothing at...


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