The Burden: a Meditation
in a Comfort Inn
west of Abingdon,
I leave the numbered room, sneak
into the rouge fog of parking lots,
and head for the ragged meadow
bordering the interstate—
dirge of tractor-trailers
rising and falling in pure mechanics,
struggling with heavy cargoes.
hours of superficial answers
in an aimless odyssey,
a pale form lying under blackberries
like trash after a rock concert.
Closer, squatting, I see a man,
like that body in Blow Up,
the squarish build, skilled hands,
face young, yet with beard bleaching.
With sweaty heart,
I think to wake him,
but vultures have swooped
to steal his eyes
as if in noonday revelation; yellow jackets
flicker in alien codes, worms
cavort in tented bones.
I turn away—sleep does not have
this double vision.
I close my eyes to see in present darkness
the slow bloating of credentials,
the mediocre body or work forgotten,
the river of thought finally pissed out—
to see the blue wood aster
blooming from his sockets, foxtail grass
dancing the radius and ulna,
body vanishing, the promise composted.
From Leo’s mouth
the proselytizing dawn, shoes soaked
with a walk on water,
burrs like small print obituaries
nag my jeans,
the autumnal suffering
Of Hummingbirds: a Meditation
At the window feeder, hummingbirds
harass each other with an energy
we might envy, tiny impulses
along the nerve of evening—
a busy airport with no crashes.
They are clever thoughts, acrobats
of parabolas almost in spite of themselves.
I observe thoughts from a darkening room.
Made of nearly nothing but twittering
they dissolve into deepening greens
into past light, their visits less frequent.
In black the feeder is empty.
Fred Wilbur is a professional woodcarver who lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.