Plain Advice

Don’t be foolish. No, be foolish.
Each of these trees was once a seed.

Look down the road till it’s all mist and fumes:
Of course your journey is impossible.

It’s stupidly hot for September and yet here’s
an eddy, a gust, something to stir you

as the high leaves of the walnut are stirred,
as fine droplets touch you, touch the table

and the deck, no explanation, no design.
And beauty is like God, mystery

in plain sight, silent, hesitating
in leaves and the shadows of leaves,

in the carved fish painted and nailed
to the railing, in skeins of cloud

and searching fly and pale blue
scrim of sky and seas of emptiness

and dazzle, fusion and spin,
fire and oblivion and all that lies

on the other side of oblivion.

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Atkinson. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.