Monday, June 5, 2017

Important Uses for the Comma



Sometime last night,
Perhaps when I stepped outside
To listen to the whisper
Of conversation between
The owls in my trees in the backyard
And then slipped in again
Through the sliding glass door,

A thin black moth flew too close behind me
Just at the wrong moment
And fell prisoner all night
Trapped between the two doors--
A pane of glass
and the mesh of screen.
I saw it this morning, the moth,

Looking like a forgotten comma,
A simple stain of black ink
On the reflective page--
A sentence trailing off,
Staring out at the green of trees and grass
And the blue of sky
It could only recall now as a memory,

Wondering, perhaps, just
What had happened, anyway,
To the slightest breath of breeze
That could, in the best of moth-times,
Suddenly unwrinkle its
Black rice-paper wings and its
Smudge-of-dust grammatical mark

And lift it to the grass and trees of green
And the sky of blue.
Punctuation promising coordination,
With nothing to connect to now
But unfulfilled desire
(Of whatever it is that moths do, anyway).
So I slid open the doors

And let it go.
It flew tentatively within
The morning's warmth,
As if unsure what to do
With its new-found freedom,
Circled drunkenly for a second or two,
And then lifted clumsily carefree

Toward the protective canopy of leaf green,
A balance of mindfully intentioned
Parallelism and freefall
Fluttering stream-of-consciousness,
A chance to pause, until in a flare of
Brilliant sunshine I lost it far above

                                     somewhere in the blue.