Last night’s rain inspires the brook
to gush in marbled undertones
alien to its milder moods.
I wish you were with me to cross
the gap freshly opened between
the path and the wooden footbridge
where excess water has sprawled
like a nineteenth-century nude.
You exert more hydraulic force
than this falling water but
sometimes in the presence of birds
and the early spring flowers
you draw yourself like a shade
and crouch in that wordless dark
as if natural gestures frightened you.
As the sum or summaries of all
the books you’ve read, you feel obliged
to culture, inclined to parse
the language of birds, flowers, brooks
as so much eloquence spent
on air, on the empty space
where no one significant cares.
Having safely crossed the brook
I shuffle up the trail to greet
the dead tree that for many years
has presented the gaping look
of a face contorted in screams.
Sometimes we see each other
in that face, sometimes we glimpse
that tree in each other’s expression.
The dripping forest exhales
the purest oxygen in colors
that would flatter your complexion.
The brook grumbles downhill
to snuff itself in larger colors
in which one day we’ll acquiesce
with many snuffles of oxygen
we’ll gladly, for a moment, share.