MARKING THE SKY
Place the future in a knot of the largest oak
where stillness reigns. The day will pass not
as light but as paths of shout-yellow tulips
and royal lilacs wielding their froth. Sit under
the Japanese maple, absorb spring-warm sun
and bird song that beats the air with chip-chips,
trills, whistles. All is sharpened by morning rain,
spiked air, arriving summer. Dream all in 'till loud
rush of wing halts nestlings' clamor. How simple
yet astounding to feed one's brood into quietness.
The same with your own whom you fed in this chair
under this tree on a day much like this one.
Observe the sundial mark light's last, red flare.
* * *
BE TOUGH, HE SAYS
and expects the slow, the old, the disabled
to cling to doorways envying birds,
how do you venture out to dinner?
But you do when you're reminded of your husband's
words—Be tough; the world doesn't expect
it from you. At the restaurant, your scooter skillfully navigates
around handbags and shoes, chair legs
and banquettes. Then you wait until the waiter
brings a chair with arms, and if there's no
chair with arms, you sit, your body wavering
like a round-bottomed Russian doll—
your husband supporting you.
Dinner is a flurry of chest-protector napkins
to counter your unsteady fork. He cuts
your salmon, asparagus, and later, laughing,
feeds you cake with his fingers as he
did years ago at your wedding.
It's raining when you leave the restaurant.
On the street, car lights paint wet, white stripes.
Your husband runs interference on the sidewalk—
a polite, sharp-elbowed blocker—
but he can't clear everyone. Ahead of you, people talk
to each other, to their cell phones. No one says,
Oh, I'm sorry, when they stop on a dime—that absent-
minded standstill as if they forgot something
important. You must halt the scooter with a jerk to not
run into them—they still don't notice you.
You fantasize driving through rain-filled puddles
with hidden depths, turning the speed to max
(four miles an hour!) and splashing dirty puddle-water
on the shoes and legs blocking you,
wheel-catch be damned.
Your car comes into view.
Scooter angles toward the car's open
passenger door; your husband helps you stand,
turn, and sit, while he lifts your legs
into the car.
Seatbelt click, head back, you're thankful that you
stayed upright, that you both could relish
a meal that he didn't have to cook.
On the way home, you study the untroubled moon
above the nightfall, its meteoroid impacts,
volcanic action long gone, the Sea of Crises
and the Ocean of Storms, reminders.
* * *
You had parked your car a mile away, then, head down,