For Loyal Jones
So I came out of my rainy bowercovered with white petals droppedfrom a tree. My people long agowhose milky eyes I still can seewould have said I had a God’s plentyof petals on me, an expression I likedto hear as a boy because I knewit pointed out the obvious onlyto make it—just like that—completelysomething else. But those people are goneaway from the world, so I had to say itmyself, the God’s plenty of petalsthat fell when the little rain came downand I happened to be under the tree.I have no idea what plenty isto God, but it riddles my heart to knowthat someone thought about it once,probably after a day’s workwhen he was staring at a lanternor sitting on a porch to watchthe stars enumerate themselvesand struggling to find the wordsto catch it all, then finding them. [End Page 133]
Maurice Manning's most recent poetry collections are One Man's Dark and The Gone and the Going Away. A former Guggenheim fellow, Manning has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers. He teaches at Transylvania University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.