I thought your illness a kind of solvent
dissolving the future a little at a time;
I didn't understand what's to come
was always just a glimmer
up ahead, veiled like the marsh
gone under its tidal sheet
of mildly rippling aluminum.
What these salt distances were
is also where they're going:
from blankly silvered span
toward specificity: the curve
of certain brave islands of grass,
temporary shoulder-wide rivers
where herons ply their twin trades
of study and desire. I've seen
two white emissaries unfold
like heaven's linen, untouched,
enormous, a fluid exhalation. Early spring,
too cold yet for green, too early
for the tumble and wrack of last season
to be anything but promise,
but there in the air was white tulip,
marvel, triumph of all flowering, the soul
lifted up, if we could still believe
in the soul, after so much diminishment ...
Breath, from the unpromising waters,
up, across the pond and the two-lane highway,
pure purpose over the dune,
gone. Tomorrow's unreadable
as this shining acreage;
the future's nothing
but this moment's gleaming rim.
Now the tide's begun
its clockwork turn, pouring,
in the day's hourglass,
toward the other side of the world,
and our dependable marsh reappears
-- emptied of that starched and angular grace
that spirited the ether, lessened,
but here. And our ongoingness,
what there'll be of us? Look,
love, the lost world
rising from the waters again:
our continent, where it always was,
emerging from the half-light, unforgettable,
Mark Doty, 1995
December 1, World AIDS day. Think about it, link it.
There is no Swedish word for the day.
- by Francis S.