Three Stories

This longing to live in a world
Where everything makes perfect sense
The way a dream makes perfect sense;
And it does, when awake enough to see it.

In the Alameda park, between two pines, their roots
Sprout like onions from rich, acidic soil.
A squirrel cracks a nutshell
Sprinkles splinters to the ground with a sound
Of tears shed
From a lonely woman’s porcelain heart.
A hummingbird’s shadow falls twice upon the page;
I looked up from the story and it asked me,
“Are you a flower?”

A feeling came upon me
Followed me a ways
Until I came to this café.
Almost lost it, distracted in a daze,
Feeling set apart in some other world
Where dreams and secret longings made a kind of
Perfect sense.

No other woman seems as real as you
To this heart beating inside me;
On days like today it wanders
Through its own temple, a foreigner
In this body that also wanders
Foreign to this world.

In the park a thousand love poems, oxygen
Bubbles in a water glass
Loosed against their will
Released themselves,
Begged me to deliver them to you
Like a lady on a country roadside
Begs a stranger who looks like her beloved
To take a message somewhere, anywhere,
Just to free the burden on her soul.

A thousand mawkish love songs
I send you, blushing at the awkwardness
Of passion that can only find release in words,
And blushing, knowing your thoughts go
Somewhere far away, the landscape of another dream,
Like the refrain of the story, interrupted
By the hummingbird’s incessant question;
“Are you a flower?”

Do flowers feel these same pangs
Every time the sun goes down?
Do they feel this same joy at dawn
Hoping this time, this warmth will stay forever?
They, too, can’t bear to turn their hearts away.
How could they divorce themselves from this,
This light that opens up their clenched fists?
Nothing else will do.

And the story speaks to me, as if the story
Came from me; and it doesn’t, I know this.
To write a story like this, about you and me-
All that comes is a poem that meanders,
Searching for some way to stay touched
By this warmth, to stay open to the sun.

No flower ever hates the sun;
That would be stupid.
No choice but to feel the loss at sunset
And renew itself again by day.
By now, words have begun to struggle
To follow this blissful feeling as it strays.
How can I persuade it to stay?

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