MILKWEED, MIRROR, CHAIN-LINK FENCE
Today I worked a garden, nothing but weeds until someone named them: orange milkweed, Indian
blanket, yerba santa, —
an old story, a sorting
of Johnson from Bermuda grass, pulled up with fingers and rock tools to make an outdoor
classroom, 19 miles from a border where immigration agents sever families as if cutting back vines.
Tonight in the alley I hear a pickup idling in a driveway, a fork scrapes a plate, telephone wires
vibrate and with each passing car the salt cedar trembles
sunsick in drought, nonnative like most of us.
Claude Monet painted water lilies for decades but waited until the dawn of World War I to paint the
eight large panels that curved around me in a Paris museum. Petal and wave, sky and leaf. The
signage asked: Should art act as silvering on a mirror?
I want art like a shard when the mirror breaks. Under fist or rock hammer. Art to reminds us
families do not vine, and footprints through the desert look like shallow graves.
“Not a mirror up to nature but—”
The windshield of a pickup bears the whole sky. Swallows in the alley continue their conversations.
Which calls? Which answers? Somewhere in Spring
and All, William Carlos Williams continues “...poetry does not tamper with the world, it moves it.”
So I offer this small forklift, the tiniest gesture: a child fingering a fence
through which she knows somewhere, across some distance,
her father stands or sleeps or speaks her name.
QUESTIONS MILKWEED, MIRROR, CHAIN-LINK FENCE
What gets made from the silence of lilies
as an answer to the throttle of planes?
The flicker of boxcars, an eye that flutters
at muffle and scream, at how many
miles without water, where pond
light is dream, where birds flick their notes
into a silence of mesquite? What sky
wouldn't crumple? What song
remains? What art can slur a border, smear
a horizon, like a school girl with her fist
learning to blend a pastel crayon
across construction paper to mimic the sunset?