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
Parallel to and then diverging from the rolling,
Train-like caravan of mountains.