Maybe illusion, trick of time, the Seth Thomas clock:
you tick, you’re back and tock—the dawn flocks
its soft belly of clouds, attention socked up
in the sunlight dreaming milk and fog, silk
unspooling the silk worm, brief as a girl,
a boy. Didn’t you count it a good year
when no student died? Grief as substantial as mountains,
mounting delicate–didn’t you imagine that you could walk out
onto those great rolling dreams? Why couldn’t those pink hills
hold you? And yet you traveled on, practical,
you liked the click of gravel. No more wrapping yourself
in flimsy batiste, no more trying to paint the quick
slick on the rose, that sort of fakery. Now you see
you can’t love that son-in-law
who suddenly finds himself religious. All the ticking
he wasn’t, tock unfaithful, come back, go on,
and your daughter alone bedding baby and toddler,
what sort of light wraps us in such mists,
divides us into little versions of ourselves?
Why do we salvage ourselves again and again,
Rembrandt in his velvet hat, Alice Neel in her soft slump,
body on her blue chair, Durer as Christ, those mirages, yourself
floating on the sky with Blake’s angels scarfing the Father.
Yourself a white puff already fading.
You read once, didn’t you, that with your mind
you could dissolve a cloud—and once you thought you did
until you remembered it was morning,
it was the sun burning away the haze.
Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent publication Nightmares of the Minor Poet (Five Oaks) appears in May 2016. Author of 6 poetry books, 10 chapbooks, she also writes short stories. Her work has appeared in journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. Visit http://www.loismarieharrod.org