for our daughter, Lisa
As on a crowded Interstate the drivers in boredom or irritation speed ahead or lag (taken with sudden enthusiasms for seventy-five), surging ahead a little by weaving between lanes but still staying pretty much even, so too the seeker in language ranges ahead and behind--exiting and rejoining a rushing multitude so closely linked that, if seen from above, from the height of the jet now descending, we present one stasis of lights: feeling our freedom though when seen from above, in the deepening twilight, the pattern we bead is constant. So we have traveled in time, lying down and waking together, moved illusions, each cubicle with tables and chairs, beds where our cries arose lost in the surging engines. Yet the roomlight where we made our love still cubes us in amber. Out of the averaging likeness, Pavlovian salivation at the bell of a nipple, our lives extract their time-thread, our gospel-truth. While Holiday Inn and Exxon populate the stretch between Washington and Richmond with lights, I rewrite our pasts in this present: recalling your waking, dear wife, to find a nipple rosier, we not yet thinking a child though impossibly guessing her features the feathery, minutely combed lashes the tiny perfect nails, though not yet the many later trees at Christmas. Now I know only backwardly, inscribing these sign- ings that fade as the ink dries. Remembering the graphlike beading of darkness, I recall the ways that time once gave us-- distracted by signs for meals and clothing, travelers, heavy with ourselves defining the gift that bodies carry, lighting the one, inner room, womb for our daughter. Seeing from above, I read this love our child embodies.
From Quartet for Three Voices by James Applewhite. Copyright © 2002 by James Applewhite. Reproduced with permission of Louisiana State University Press. All rights reserved.