Patti Trimble

To the Thrush

In your place
I would have bones filled with air,
a beak to pull the work of hands,
a head I turn entirely
to see the whole of things.

Each season 
I would shape a new home,
my wing stirring the sky—
sit until I find myself 
in service of new life.

Tibetans say to build five homes
and abandon them
is how we learn to fly. 

In your place
I would suffer impermanence 
with irrepressible singing.

In the middle of The Night of the road of my life I found myself in a tangled wood

It's 3 am, I'm wide awake alert on this dim road less traveled and my husband breathes beside me easy like the silent earth, but I've got thoughts to think before I sleep in the hormonal night, should I buy my son some shoes, should I live the rest of my life outside on the granite ledge?

There's time in the dusky shadows to think of all the things I can't understand. What if Eden is truly so ubiquitous it includes even the Chevron station on Washington Street? What if the gods decide after all in favor of the wild Earth and the people, and eventually it all works out? What if the lazy gestures of the trees signify, hey, do less not more? What if we just wait five years?

What if, what if, there was no cheese, or no cinnamon, or I'd never seen Etna's chestnut trees dropping their spiny fruit between the black basalt rivers? And what about the collision of myth, history, and the springtime of nations? What if Icarus fell beside me on the sidewalk? If suddenly a beautiful boy just appeared on the ground like those boys on the swimming rocks, their heads full of dreams their mouths pursed against warnings— I'm thinking of cities littered with the fallen: those boys, that kind of courage, the beauty of their wings.

I can't fall asleep I should maybe meditate or breathe really deep and slow, but then what about Jerusalem? I worry about Jerusalem. What if the ebb and flow of conversation never rises to flood the fertile valley? What if all our wailing praising demanding never polishes the shape of grace? What if when we prayed for peace, we knew what else to do?

And then again, what if the Old City is truly the blessed center of life, and only in its narrow streets we still dance and sing in gratitude, still know humility as necessary to the day? How in America, in my land of assumed plenty, can I remember to bow to the river, bow to the rain, bow to the lover, remember to drop to my knees, kiss the holy stone?  

And what about freedom and America and all that? What is the connection between liberty and guns in the drawer and the gift of human hands when I am sick?

It's four-thirty a.m. on the homestretch murky road of my raggedy artist life, so what's the deal with money? Why can't I find a permanent bailout fund, a firewall against crises in the poetzone? Why does the world sleep so and dream, while I lie awake among the sounds of silence, anxiously counting the sums? If Larry Ellison gave me only half his fortune, I could live just fine for four hundred thousand years.

And what if Rudolph Steiner was right that the shape of my self is available in the ether, ready for occupation? What if I never enter that salon in my party dress? What if enthusiasm is not enough?

And what if, what if we are all born geniuses and we've already missed our chances? What if each moment is a thin-skinned bubble, a transparent sphere floating, reflecting countless sounds, multifaceted form, and when it bursts, if we listened just a bit harder, we could hear the delicate organized cacophony of life; and we could be Mozart or Gertrude Stein, of Mozart, or Nelson Mandela, sitting at the desk, pen in hand?

Now the sky is gaining light, dawn is thinking it will dawn, and the anxious woods crowd close—What if I had chosen a career and never known my son? What if I'd never seen the high plateau, the black bear, and the raven? Why was I born into such a fulsome bakery?

Why do I get a piece of the pie? I hope I can sing real loud over all the wars and losses and provisos and legal riders and crazy shit. And I hope, when the world ends in 2015, 2020,  2026, I'm not on the Long Island Expressway, like some crazy American, driving alone in my car.