By Elizabeth Austen
…my disordered soul thirsts
after something it cannot name.
How many summer afternoons found us
at this lakeshore, unable to account
for our fate? Dear whirligig,
you want what is only possible
with stillness. We have yet to learn the names
of nearly everything we love. These
tiny birds in the yellowing lilac—who are they?
Branch to branch—in search of what?
Each winter we earn the next summer’s light
until—not yet—it arrives unannounced:
our last. From the corner of an eye
we’ll see—not yet—how perfect and brief
our bodies were—how even one afternoon
of lakewater and sunlight, the girlchild
splashing in the shallows, the laughter
carried from a far shore—
how even this was enough, seen
from the diminishing vista of a rearview mirror.
Copyright Austen 2012