A Part

Again, of late, again, again I have so
wearied . . . wearied stark . . .from what?
My soul? Souls? Just words.
What is a soul but just words?

For the day, perhaps,
which soul or shadow of my own I invite
along with my grandfathers’ souls:
Hugh Fenton’s, Zhuang Zhou’s, Du Fu’s, Eumaeus’s.

And our shared retreats—
Log-slab covered tar-paper cabin. Folly.
Thatch-roof cottage. Piercing absences.
Stone hut and pigsty, maybe interchangeable.

Deep blue lake, ciscoes jumping,
forest shadowed, green.
Shaded valley lakes and streams, sacred mountains,
crags, clouds.

Hills guide down to luffed sails
in a clearwater port—
to loaf together, diddling our toes
in a bright sea of pregnant wine—

The necessary condition of our apartness
keeps us close and closed together
in mutable cloud-bound arrangements, stories
out from within our kaleidoscopic
pirouettes of mind.

Our core of years, our witness, growing
as one and another in one or another fluky voice
to witness in our shared days and ages
axial treasures of thought and spirit: cultures—
thrush and flute songs: the music!

And wars, treacheries far gone and near.
Castles, basilicas, laws of trebuchet and bomb.
Permian, Cretaceous, Anthropocene.

. . . O, and the good of waiting.
Keeping the table ready for twenty years or ever:
we also serve . . . and ever.

Our shared life longing for the company of friends
and cabin-comfort if not property
and fated instead to apartness and the failure
that is both Circe and Penelope to the unrequited poet:

Even together, with our, my distonality,
we stammer toward . . . and avoid the epode
as we avoid, without resistance, finality.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.