A day of cold rain, when I think of Janisse Ray’s line: Some days, all day, rain falls. Driving home, I take a detour and follow the river, swollen threateningly along its banks, grabbing at trees still barren with winter.
All through graduate school in Bellingham, Washington, I wrote of flooding rivers, clogged septic tanks, the persistence of moisture.
In Montpelier this afternoon, the lights are already glowing on, and it’s poetry month. Poetry: not of sterilized honey, but nourishing, sweet and yet filled with the debris of dead bees.
At Bear Pond Books, I buy Dede Cummings’ beautiful new book of poetry. Oh Dede. On this April day fattening itself with water, wisely using the sodden gloom, readying for the splendor of blooms, I stand in the aisle, devouring her words. A friend of mine, reading a new book of Mary Oliver’s, said she always found poems she knew were written just for her. Then she said, But maybe many others think that way, too.
I am not the cause of your misery
I am peepers in springtime in the dark pond
I am footsteps and shadow approaching on the dark road
I watch for salamanders but none of them are crossing on this dry night.
I measure my steps, and I count my dreams:
I am driven home by drizzle, by children.
A small vase of crocus blossoms
you left on the cutting board this morning
reminds me of what we once had.
– Dede Cummings, To Look Out From