Like Two People on Skates for the First Time (poems from old notebooks, December 2009)

The death poem still refuses exhumation (the good news, then, is that, while there is never a way out of death, for today, at least, there also appears to be no way in). I’ll get it yet, though. So here’s a poem I’ve been back and forth on since writing it—today I like it enough to let it be seen.

Like Two People on Skates for the First Time

Because to consider the night
might move them past
a small red berry hung
from the snowbent tip of a branch
beside a winter pond
to take the first tentative steps
onto black ice
scattered with air pockets
like small, white stars
they study each word, glance, touch
for the distant creak
and groan that signal,
through pitch and duration,
whether the dark surface will bear even
this slow, sliding weight of examination —
not to mention the eventual, inevitable
sinking of an axe blade
to learn trust’s exact measure, hoping
what wells through, like water,
or blood from a wound,
will also clot and heal and help to hold
the long, cursive scrawls
a night’s movements might etch into memory,
a choreography seen clearest once begun;
looking back at the traces
it leaves on ice, like the whirling
embrace of a binary star system
seen across centuries of night.

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
This entry was posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Epistemology, John MacKenzie, Poem tweets, Poems from old notebooks, Poetry, Seamus Heaney, Space, Time, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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