While I was gone I lost my finches.
The first lilies bloomed. The second and third.
My town lost a lamp store and light in its windows.
My camellias, how pale they seem.
And the grass, how impatient, acting out
With its spray of weeds. Hummingbirds,
I am so sorry. I fell in love a little while I was gone.
I sugared a few doughnuts in her kitchen.
I liked it best when we fumbled around
In the pitch searching for each other.
In the silences there was a great sea between us.
All right, it was more like a pond. But an icy little pond.
My finches, how they would dip and peck.
How bright they were. The finches: how I miss them.
In summer, impalas
feed on young shoots of grass;
in winter on herbs and shrubs where grasslands
meet the savannah, so we don't worry
for their breed. Even as individual
breathing animals, impalas stay invisible
to us, like asides. Graceful, territorial,
we still hear their voices
as they're vaguely piping. Their species
thrive on the plains, even when
they're slaughtered wholesale by jackals,
pythons and baboons. With their white bellies,
their chestnut coats, leaping forays,
we cannot hold onto them
skittering across the plains. Whatever suddenness
makes their hearts race, they are great joys
for all we pour into them
that is not them. We pour into them
the river that rises to their lapping tongues,
the heat that makes their chests expand
and contract like accordions: they play familiar tunes
on a street corner, but not on the street where you live.
Copyright © 2012 by Ira Sadoff
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission