Taxonomy of Loss: Bodies of Water
relentless rain, the cistern overflows
the distillation and
collection of all the sadness of the left behind.
water, the dissipation in
swirls and ebbs, eddies and whorls
of blackness into light
and back to black
the all encompassing ocean
is in the rain drop
concentrated as essential loss.
1. Containment and Release
a. volcanic crater:
a lake purpled by altitude,
a granite bowl of ink,
against the sky turned dull and listless by comparison.
drowsy with color, drifting in all directions;
trunks in silhouette
gnarled by the short light of the long summer morning,
in a car, nearly 45 years ago,
with my parents and my sister.
b. the stagnant puddle
teams with larvae and pollywogs
losing tails to gain legs
A spent battery,
a clot of leaves,
runs the rivulet in the gutter.
Outside of Woodland,
In Yolo County,
after too much beer at the Hawaiian Hut
and too many reds all day,
Cookie Del Rio wrapped her Rambler
around a light post.
and where would she be
30 odd years gone down?
chasing after Mexican boys
Or reformed, working her program
and swimming laps at the local Y?
an oak table
in a green room,
the glass vase holds
daisy water days gone.
that room was your bedroom
and is no longer.
there was a time
whenever I passed the room
I was reminded.
The ocean keeps getting deeper
15 years falling
into the end
that never ends.
cold fingers of memory
rescind the real and move it darker,
into another sadness that is
the ocean getting deeper.
15 year passed
and gone still, and utterly forever.
water over rocks
fishing for trout
on the South Fork of the American River
past Placerville, Strawberry and Lover's Leap
past Tamarack and up the hill and at the Bridge,
or in your secret spot
down by the red cabin.
Salmon eggs on a hook on
an afternoon in 1963.
The South Fork of the American River that
flows through Rio Vista and Antioch and Martinez
to the Bay and
out the Golden Gate.
(bridge to bridge)
(mountains to oceans)
2. Streams of Arrested Desire
did he save or sell his soul
did she walk to work?
did he try to get better?
did she ever really feel connected?
did he want for affection?
did he ever want to jump from a bridge
into a frigid lake
under a titanium cloud cover
in a wasteland of discarded furniture and bric-a-brac?
did he ever love a man in a cabin by a beach
on a churning night
in a summer
in the forties?
did he ever ford a stream
with his heart full for another?
did she fill his heart or
did it ever,
does it ever?
Was it parenting in absentia
under a spring moon
blossoms drift through the breeze
the birdsong trails into a quartet.
did you ever sing for him?
did you ever reach under his arms and lift him?
did you ever sit silently for a while?
did you think of these men as lovers?
did you think of these men as release?
did you talk about your wife?
did you talk about your children?
Did you talk about the watery weather?
ultimately, it doesn't matter
ultimately, under the bridge
how much is memory?
and how much is from having heard about?
or some combination of
memory and having been told
about being washed in the concrete sink
with Happy singing in her cage
on the raised floor above the basement door?
outside, there was a shrimp plants and carnations
and metal lawn furniture painted silver.
the ballerino's house was beyond the hedge
through a gate.