Maybe in their bones or late-night thoughts
the leaders wonder how it ends,
how it began, how one can answer
to and fro the dark. Maybe
the wondering is very small,
a moment between this and that,
stopped in a window just above the sink.
Summer shivers. Snowball disappears in snow.
Who is leader, really, who is led?
A wonderment, though no one lets another
know he doesn’t know.
Puffed chests and roasted turkeys
to grandmother’s house we go.
The motions are protected by a blanket
covering a blank. The young are puzzled
as to why, or who to thank.
copyright Cynthia Jobin, 2014
dumbfounded is a place
cut like a chasm in the gut
a sharp and instant color of
the space between two moments
dark and seeming without cause
one goes there not by choice
but as the pawn of psychopomps
whose garbled voices suddenly
make clear demands from under
customary drapes of gauze
then nothing is the same
not the piano or a slice of bread…
to breathe is stunning…one cannot
remember the cat’s name…one moves
slowly like a walking bruise
who said time heals all wounds?
who said time wounds all heels?
it matters not…with time the place
dumbfounded turns to so much sand
easily shaken from the shoes
The Androscoggin flows, cliff-sheltered,
hidden by a thickness of great pointed firs,
so we cannot see it from our windows
though we know it’s there. Sometimes we hear
after a freakish torrent of hard rain
its rushing over rocks—the ones we hop
when crossing—and we’re sidelined for awhile.
The local ducks, deer, foxes, skunks
don’t seem to mind; they let the river
have it’s way—grow wider, deeper,
curving slippery as silk over the falls,
roaring down to swirls of sudsy turbulence
then calming to black pools of mystery.
Only the hand that winds the clock of thought,
the sleepless eyes that worry out the window,
know an urge to push the river toward the sea,
while among the firs, small bright eyes
caught on the dark like stars fallen to earth,
watch, and don’t agree or disagree.
BY THE ANDROSCOGGIN
I fall in love with
what cannot be mine
a lilt of violins
freshly fallen snow
a bugbit maple leaf
a pale pink columbine
I want to grasp and hold
the glint and shine of
sunlight on the lake
that look I’ve known
in loving eyes
to never let them go
to own and keep them
It cannot be.
Why even now
I fall in love again
NOTES FOR A SONNET
“God rest ye merry, gentlemen
let nothing you dismay….” —18th century carol
Though morning comes again
as grim as gray as dim as
a blank wish to crawl back into bed
and start again some other day,
let nothing you dismay.
The giant plastic manger scene
and holiday inflatables now lie
collapsed all limp upon their lawns
as if a scroogey grinchy neighbor
shot them dead as he drove by
but it was likely just the wind,
so adversarial this time of year,
as weather obeys nothing but itself
regardless of a Santa Claus balloon
or Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Just beyond the window
frost has dangled silver
bangles on a piney tree
and just beyond that…fog
so thick there’s little else to see.
There’s no one here but me
the fog god seems to say…
so rest you gently if not merry;
take a bit of comfort in oblivion,
let nothing you dismay.
The way the sun
creeps over a shoulder
enters, moves about the room
as a pleasant guest
admiring now this, now that—
the way it warms,
brightens when recognized
the way a cherished friend
after long absence
tenderly is met
with smiling eyes—
the way it’s faraway
yet here in hand
today, ethereal gold—
the way this oldest thing
never gets old.
THE WAY THE SUN
As if you owned nothing
but a pair of earrings,
the two gold hoops that once hung
from the lobes of your living ears
now occupied a little plastic box
marked “patient’s belongings”
someone left for me to find
on the still, hard mound of your chest.
No sign of your cobalt blue kimono
or the brand new underwear
you had been saving in a drawer
and asked me to fetch for you–
my hands shaking–once we knew
the ambulance was on its way.
We lost connection after that.
They came, and you were gone.
Your earrings and I,
with only the turned-off machines
pushed back against the walls to overhear
said our appalling last goodbye. Then
stunned to a disbelief way beyond sorrow,
we went home. In time
I gave the earrings to your sister–
as you know she is a fool for jewelry–
who felt they should be hers.
Most of your other things have gone,
piecemeal, over the years,
each time tearing at the heart.
Only your favorite flannel shirt
stays in the closet still,
its empty arms hanging by its sides,
a last most patient belonging,
waiting for its purpose
to be once again fulfilled.
Originally posted in May, 2013