Mark Strand’s The One Song…
I tagged the little ant as he scurried around on my car. I was parked in a city lot. I realized I had carried the ant far from home. Instinctively I brushed him to the asphalt vaguely thinking it would be safer. As he danced about I began to imagine what he might be up to. A re-orientation of sorts? I imposed an idea of destination, wondering if the ant’s idea of home included a non-local sensibility. What we did share was an almost incomprehensible sense of each other. But out of this musing emerged another: that the ant’s situation is mine as well. The Great Movement is afoot everywhere. The bigger vehicle carrying me is vast and essentially unknowable. Yet I dance, adjust the dials, ever attenuating a desire to go home. Later, in my driveway, I daydreamed about a tiny technology that would allow me to monitor the ant’s movements. Would he adapt, resettle, carry a bodily habit that informed his journey? Or would a mysterious directive carry him toward home? I stood there looking east toward downtown.
We have a parent up each sleeve.
Maybe a mother up the right,
a father, the left.
I wasn’t always that way.
Dominate hand, dominate parent,
When my arms are crossed
my mother rests under my left armpit,
my father, the right.
It feels like they are lying
across each other after sex.
It is a comfortable position for me.
When I point with my finger
it could be my mother’s instruction.
Or my father’s command.
In that finger I can feel the length of her
While other times he is bulky,
When I put my arm around you
it is my mother
like a fish, curling, wavering softly.
And when the other arm is extended
it holds gunpowder.
It can be discharged if I hold it steady.
When my hands come together
they touch with the realization
that they found time to be together.
When my mother hand is holding my chin
My father hand holds tightly the same chin,
pulling at my lip, directing my mouth.
My face can not smile with my father’s hand.
When I shake hands with you
my mother is there.
I hold her like a gift for you.
On the other hand my father holds
a small book of cautionary tales.
It is late.
I take something.
I see a picture on the wall.
Darkness hides the details
Out there the reefs are dying.
I hear myself dreaming.
There is color there in a meadow.
My head is no different than earth.
It is unfathomable.
It is more than everything around it.
I comb it in the early light.