Disturbed Cirrus

Maya Janson


When I changed my name to water it was water over
the dam. No going back to the cold water flat; unheated
the pipes burst. When you left. When you years later
and out of the blue called to say just one last thing.
My love for you is the horse, not tractor,
pulling a plow in the field along the interstate.
Neither animal nor driver having any regard for the sky,
not even late in the day with the work of high ladders over.
Everything in balance then out of balance, falling
like the strand of hair that would never stay tucked.
Like the old man on that beach years ago north of Gander,
tucking his oars into the row boat, coming ashore
in the almost dark. It was dark and then it got darker.
What light remained came from his hands against the boat's
black hull. White like vapor over a caldera, small
like horses viewed from a distance, lost to the withers
in blonde grass. His fishing nets improbably filled
with fragile glass balls, the glass thick and pocked
like moon glass. Like glass fired in the moon's big kiln.
Look at us, all these years later still marked
as if by spilled ink. The whales at night
disappeared into the ink-spot sea and still we waited
on the beach for their return. We waited
on the beach, in our own way echolocating each other.
Later we lashed everything we owned into a pickup truck
with a good radio but without a working heater.
But without became what we whistled, picking blackberries
by a river upstate, but without while the sun crashed its plane
into the hills. They were hills, not mountains.
Their heads were bowed and they were big-shouldered
but their summits were not lost, didn't even
come close to touching the clouds.