Sport 35: Winter 2007
You're watching that cellist for clues. The rasp of her bow
across one or more strings, the giveaway bunch of muscle
under a long sleek sleeve, the traditional colour slicked
over effort. Lower still the underground: two circuits, red
and blue, as we were taught; one un-notched system
under some command you cannot for the moment fathom;
and all the time the music running through unseen
tunnels in what you take to be the passes of her heart.
Her little finger slides and compresses. You catch
a raggedness beside the nail, which needn't be a flaw.
You wonder how a twig like that could hold down,
dog-on-a-lead, your wayward mind. What joins them—
that's what you're after. You could write up a column
in praise of her playing. Now you're close to the ceiling
and the feeling cries out for a name. When you put them
together (the making, the meaning) alongside the ceiling,
you can see how it started; how the whole thing began
with the gods. But today, well, it's one leap too many.
You stay with the human side somehow apparent;
with a matchstick of finger, or that tear in the skin
like a half-erased print interrupting the turn of the clay.
In the end you come up with the raw edge of wonder.
Today at five the trees are offering something,
not just the singletons outside the frame: stand-outs
that end in pale patches of magnolia or flaunt
their bright mosaic bark. These trees touch always
on perfection. I mean the ones which pack the inside
of the bush like different kinds of stuffing (kapok
and feather, brands of rubber chip); each tree
delivering its take on nature's blend of the distinct
and multiple, to make a hillside catching
at her positives: repeat, diversify, diversify, repeat.
One among the crowd is held against an idea of the sky.
I watch—the way you don't quite watch a sibling,
its presence and its placing; something about its branching
balanced growth. I watch until the light gives out.
Darkness takes it swiftly then, just as it took my brother,
and no amount of calling is going to bring it back.
I'm stretching it—I know that all you get with trees is
'seems'. But there are times when night, with its built-in
recurrence, its ghostly passing presence, becomes the setting
for an antique apprehension—the passage of the soul.
Think of him turning it all
and I mean all—down to opening a tin—
into words. The contemporary gleam of that tin's
edge, smooth to jagged in an instant.
It's the rip and twist of betrayal all right.
Life never after the same.
You find it. You turn it in your mouth like a striped
sweet. With the authority of a small prophet
you name me. 'Dy-a', you say—the word
I first heard tested on my brother's tongue.
Is this some hand-me-down trick of the genes
to overthrow a sister freshly through the hoops of loss?
You stand there wrinkling your (quite different) nose
at time. Smiling, as though you knew
you had uncovered a lexicon; with it, a thing
as fugitive, as buried and as lost as my first self.