THE NEW NOBILITY
The tawny gold of the first chantrelle
beneath the rough wall of fir bark,
a gleam in the undergrowth
to ignite the eye and ennoble the imagination.
Everyone is waiting for breakfast
to which I bring this husk and this holiness
of the newly grown and the newly found.
White plates are laid along the table,
on each of them the omelettes
rest steaming, deep and rich,
the eggs brought from a friend's farm,
the chantrelles nested firmly
in their hot buttered interiors,
and the basil flecked
through them, plucked from the last
tangy stems of a summer garden.
Perfection is a fragile, ice-thin ground
that barely holds our human weight,
one false step and everything cracks
black to the edge. In this perfection
no one dares mention the waters
of the Saratoga Passage shining through glass.
No one mentions our present happiness;
though the last dead century of grief
and misery has barely dropped from our grasp.
Outside the window, the children are playing
in borrowed clothes. One throws
back her head, sleeves trailing on the ground
and laughs in the sunlight,
and we laugh in witness, for in the midst of history
we are happy like them and all before them.
In their happiness everything still bears our weight.
Timelessness is the new nobility.
THE POET AS HUSBAND
I write in a small shadowed corner
in order to bear light into the world,
though the light is not my own.
My darkness is no darkness to you
and nothing you should wish upon yourself,
but my light shall also be your light,
in which we shall see differently
but gloriously. I am not lame inside me,
no matter that I drag my foot, I have run here
through all my infirmities to bring you news
of a battle already won. Let my last breath
speak victory into the world. The race is run
and shall be run again, joyfully, and you shall
run with me, the territory opened
to us like returned laughter
or remembered childhood. Remember,
I was here, and you were here,
and together we made a world.