From Salt and Light
The sunlight hovering behind the skyscraper,
the western edge of the copper-windowed building
now hits gold.
One blinding line. Like God. Like the white of the pickled egg pressing
against its jar.
Like the high-pitched inhalation as his wife tries to stop sobbing.
They walk on anyway into the park.
He should say something,
and knows what to say,
but the rusty-spring creaking of pigeons fluttering
and blundering out of their path distract him. What is it
about the blurring of wings, sound of their bodies…?
’58 Chevy’s back seat squeaking along the gravel road to Grandma’s.
Helen rising from the couch to close the front curtains at noon.
Park swing chains carving into S-hooks.
He’s never actually pushed a
child, never gauged how hard to press against the small back.
Still, he knows that sound,
all of them.
If he could redo it,
he can’t lie to himself and say he wouldn’t do it again.
Kiss Helen that first time, fast, before he lost nerve. And then
the year that followed.
Felt—what was it? At some beginning of himself.
The chicken wire of life, he read yesterday, was another beginning,
a nickname for a discovered molecule that forms in the winds
of dying stars.
Not poetic; science. Carbon and hydrogen
waiting for some nitrogen. That he understands. That
and grabbing her sweaty, thin hand—after the kiss. Turning it over
and seeing the glint of another beginning:
of salt glittering in the deepest groove of her palm.