This Glorious Passage

by HemmingPlay
Hummingbird hovering at red trumpet vine blossom

Photo by Roger Levien

My past is as implausible as
the tale of a frail
butterfly that flies from Mexico to Canada.
Why? How? To what purpose?

Here and now, I’m between
million-year-old mountains
and the damp, salty shores of
one of an ocean’s quiet, protected bays—
where the fish and the plants and the chemistry,
change day by day, but where the whole is eternal,
where a thousand centuries is as a day.

An ocean and mountains
show us who we really are,
Mere children pretending to be
some heroic captain,
braced on a stormy quarter deck
defying the gale,
the rocks too close.
But the ocean knows it
has swallowed many like us before,
and will take many more.

My plain face is the face of the truck driver,
the tax accountant, the soldier, the spy,
I am everyman, and am legion.
I hunger and thirst, sleep, and
pace at 3 a.m. after a strange dream;
remember a woman’s breast by
the perfect way it filled my hand, and
whether my touch made her catch her breath;
how in love we are with perishable flesh,
with the central warmth under the pubic bone.
How perfectly a hummingbird pauses, studies, drinks
from this blossom and not that, hovering
in a breeze that tries to push her away.
How effortlessly the vast, invisible
rivers of air build fantastic cathedrals of clouds
over a mountain, only to brush them aside,
as all things must end, with no regrets.

Things do not know they glitter.
Hummingbirds do not know they fly.
None knows it is this but not that.
And when a woman loosens her clothes
at the end of the day, with marks of straps in her skin,
and frees heavy breasts, finally,
and sighs in relief, it’s worth thinking….
How to take in the beauty, and the flaws, and hold
the moment close, savor the joy of simple things,
against the certain knowledge that all of us
one day will lie under a stone that
gives the simplest facts,
our name and the years of our lives.
But oh… what glorious years they were.


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