Aleph with All, All with Aleph
Daniel SchonningPoetry / Number 98
And when the storm subsides, the catchbasin
coos; the sky exhales; the dead rosebush withers;
the bright kingfisher paces in the sand.
And all night, the lemon tree remembers
sun. And the bathhouse cradles the salt spring,
casts its bodies in white steam. And the earth
opens for the spade. And the moon jar sings
from its dark womb, holds its breath. And the crow
turns and turns in the blue air. And the sickle brings
the meadow back to earth; the meadow
mourns its shadow. And the aspen shakes
green, red, gold. And all morning, the ghosts
low from the crooks of oaks; the nightjar wakes
to listen. And the father brings his children
to the shore. And the aging clockmaker
thinks, as she must, about entropy. And
the kindling crackles in the marble hearth.
And the octopus sleeps like a stone, changes
color while he dreams. And the lone train car
splits the fog across its nose. And the belfry
shutters its windows, hides its brass heart.
And in the East’s deep ocean, sand lifts—briefly—
as if to carry on to somewhere
new; there, in pools of shadow, so do the
drowned ones lift—too briefly—as if to bear
north, retake the beachhead, wander blindly
into some fresh havoc or wonder or
neighbor at the fair. And the xiphoid spines
of prickly pears erupt in pods of seven.
And the green blackberries dot the green vines.
And the orb weavers have built an open
curtain through which the yellow porchlight spills.
And the icicle falls from the eave like an
apricot. And the coyotes keep their kills
in earthen dens, catch snowflakes in the cold.
And the shoots of blue gramma, of purple
aster, of little bluestem, shiver so
gently in the West’s bare wind. And the moon’s
dull humming makes ripples in the pond.
And the white marble busts of the dead bloom
from their pitch-dark hall. And the willow leaves
brush against barbed-wire fences. And the loon
dives into the lake. And the deep well sees
Lyra, even at midday. And the warbler
parts the lemon of its rind. And the marquis
keeps its eyes in a bronze bin. And the North’s
soft heather cranes to see the morning sun.
And the cube of sugar forgets its form
for the warm black tea. And the mother runs
upon the metal bridge. And when the light
returns to the valley, the kestrel drums
along the bough; the red cedars blush white;
the mu’addhin sings, his voice like a drawn bow.
And the cherry blossoms cut through the night.
And the fishing trawler, arms akimbo,
teeters to shore like an infant. And the cliff
swallows have built their nests of mud below
the chimney’s tin crown. And the South’s cold mist
pours down the rain-wet hill. And the water
bear purrs. And the child leans into the wind,
makes his body large. And the lighthouse keeper
cannot help but imagine. And the skies
above the mountain’s peak are brighter
than the snow. And the temple roof curls wide
to catch the summer rain. And the glassblower
turns the white-hot sphere. And the wet clay shakes alive.
And, yes, the wild zinnia open their eyes.