The Solace in Naming


Today we sped along a back road that keeps pace

With the unfolding hills; the humps of indigo

That keep reaching backward, granite-pillared, gods chained

In stone at the backstroke, lapis lazuli tiers of butte

Sprinkled with brush and many light-shot stones.


We raced along with the clouds and I bent over my coffee

Like a question mark, looking out at the marvelous.


“Deus mihi providebit”—God will provide for me,

Words from an old crest on my wall, in the house where I braid

Strands of solitude, growing, paining.


Once these words with their dark and detailed serifs

Seemed to belong to another world, an Arabia, a familial empire

Far back, with this marked in red

Contemporary italic:  “I fear coming home to myself.”


I close my eyes in belief:

I am standing in a drawing room, in low lamplight,

Singing an Italian song.


Or, I am a cormorant, exotic, aloof

In a garden pond ringed with orchids: I am a blue sail on fire


But not that, not that.  I close my eyes

And I am straightening my back in a farm kitchen, pulling dough

From my fingers, shaking out pastry cloth over tendrils

Pushing through mulched dark Colorado earth.


And no cormorant, but egret, tercel,

Third and smaller bird on that wire stretching off

Toward  Berthoud,

Parallel to and then diverging from the rolling,

Train-like caravan of mountains.