Voice and Shadow


Since it is customary to want to know
who it is that will be doing the talking,
I must convince you with voice alone
that, like you, I am more than a voice,
that every morning I have a body
that arises from its bed like a bear,
and that consciousness, stuck to it,
also awakens and looks out;
I must convince you that this looking out
has become something in itself, like a cloud
that hovers above a landscape,
that this new self is unstoppable,
extravagant, and that, like nature,
squanders life while spawning life.

Since it is customary to regard with suspicion
the mysticism of vessel or tree or planet,
I must remind you of the moment
when the huge shadow of autumn
falls like a tea stain over the park in November,
I must remind you of that time
in the museum when the sound
of whispered voices became strangely muffled
as you stood before a landscape
of ploughed yellow fields and grey skies;
I must remind you that there were times
when a simple slice of apple
confounded your best thoughts.

Because you say that you are you
and that I am someone else,
I must ask you: how it is that we can be
overwhelmed with a wave of concern
for others to the point of feeling weak-kneed?
I must ask: if spring is the season of lovers,
does it follow that autumn is a comfort to the lonely?
Because you are you and I am someone else,
I must tell you that when the full moon rises
and its light illuminates a mist over the town,
when the streets are quiet with fear,
sleeping dogs and the gossip of widows,
I am drawn out from the sadness of my rooms
into nights of shadows and transformations;
I must tell you that the strong hands of autumn
on such nights draw me out into a drizzle of rain,
which falls down on me like a desire for kisses.

More than I care to admit I love
how the forest in autumn is layered
with the physical, the beautiful, and the mystical;
I love how one can be the shadow of the others,
and how we can be drawn so completely into one
that we can entirely miss the other two;
I love how red can be the shadow of yellow,
how decay is the voice of November,
and how roots, which give life, are buried in the ground;
I love how the cloth of the evening sky
sometimes becomes thick, like canvas,
how the earth absorbs the color from fallen leaves,
how the dead return to our thoughts,
and how my passion for the one that lies with me is layered
with the physical, the beautiful, and the mystical;
all of this I love, but more than these
I love, and I will never get over,
how we can live in a place in creation
where it’s possible to disagree about what’s real.