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Darkly Shifting Flux

At noon I teach my summer school class,
during which some significant Middle English poems
on the subject of mortality
are strenuously appreciated for one hour and fifty minutes.

After that I swim about half-a-mile
under a series of cloudy metaphors
at the public pool, and then I bike home.

Now it's 3 o'clock,
and the next scheduled event of the summer
is dinner at 6:30. I am in my house,
my domestic setting, with my furniture.

We exist together in the dining room for a moment,
the breakfront, the table, the buffet, and I.
How lucky we are to be here, so stable and serene,
in the darkly shifting flux of the cosmos.

And there in the backyard is my wife, kneeling amid
her conflagration of perennials. My wyf.
Clad in that fossil syllable,
yet so vivid and alive under the sun.

It is still 3 o'clock, and it seems like
maybe the day is stuck; it's bumped into something
just below the surface, and there's no way
of getting from here to the next scheduled event
except to call to her through the open window,

and put my arms around her when she comes in,
and taste the sweat on her neck, her inchoate saltiness,

and then let one of us, or it could be both of us,
lead the slow, breathing, animal bodies
up the stairs to the cool darkness,

and take off the tethers and harnesses,
remove the reins and halters, and just let them
gallop off into that green clearance for a while.

George Bilgere

River Styx

Number 87 / 2012

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