This Morning, This First Poem

Afaa Michael Weaver - 1951-
It is the first day of the year again, this time
in the quiet absence of Portlandia, we have
our own quiet way of entering the spaces
between the seconds of life, where time fades.
 
The fire makes a noise, inside here where ice
and snow make the earth frozen, press us
to guess what weather will do now as weather
becomes a matter of climate with no divination.
 
I listen to your napping, air going inside
to fill you with warmth from the fireplace,
air going out to let your soul teach the world
what it is to make the journey to the heart.
 
So this first poem the day a golden retriever
wallowed in the sunrise over frozen snow,
then sat up to grin the silly grin of its kind,
as if to say, the light is there if you only wait.
 
We wait together for the first man to enter
this house we are leaving for another house,
as you say it is me, I am the man to bless
the heart, its mystery of fire and the light.

More by Afaa Michael Weaver

My Father's Geography

I was parading the Côte d'Azur,
hopping the short trains from Nice to Cannes,
following the maze of streets in Monte Carlo
to the hill that overlooks the ville.
A woman fed me pâté in the afternoon,
calling from her stall to offer me more.
At breakfast I talked in French with an old man
about what he loved about America--the Kennedys.

On the beaches I walked and watched
topless women sunbathe and swim,
loving both home and being so far from it.

At a phone looking to Africa over the Mediterranean,
I called my father, and, missing me, he said,
"You almost home boy.  Go on cross that sea!"

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Everything That Ever Was

Like a wide wake, rippling
Infinitely into the distance, everything

That ever was still is, somewhere,
Floating near the surface, nursing
Its hunger for you and me

And the now we’ve named
And made a place of.

Like groundswell sometimes
It surges up, claiming a little piece
Of where we stand.

Like the wind the rains ride in on,
It sweeps across the leaves,

Pushing in past the windows
We didn’t slam quickly enough.
Dark water it will take days to drain.

It surprised us last night in my sleep.
Brought food, a gift. Stood squarely

There between us, while your eyes
Danced toward mine, and my hands
Sat working a thread in my lap.

Up close, it was so thin. And when finally
You reached for me, it backed away,

Bereft, but not vanquished, Today,
Whatever it was seems slight, a trail
Of cloud rising up like smoke.

And the trees that watch as I write
Sway in the breeze, as if all that stirs

Under the soil is a little tickle of knowledge
The great blind roots will tease through
And push eventually past.