By Robert Cording
Featured art: Cloud Head by Byron Armacost
Six A.M. and nothing here but fog
and an impotent sun-god
trying to scissor the fog into pieces,
a little blue patch here, another there.
Then the windows completely misted,
making shadows of whatever
flies by outside. I am sitting with my sorrow
and a cup of tea behind windows
I cannot see through. I’m waiting
to see the pair of doves
I have been listening to as if they are
some type of meditative exercise
to focus myself on the present moment.
I admit, I like being unable to see,
and I like forgetting myself,
if only for a brief time,
taken up by the doves’ call and response—
insistent, relentless—in the live oak
I know is outside my window.
I still cannot see the doves, or the tree,
except for its charcoal-like outlines.
Most likely I am hearing my own sadness
over my son’s death, three years now,
in the doves’ tiresome moans.
But then two palm trees, visible
just this moment, shake out
the morning’s dampness in the first breeze,
as if their raspy rattle can clear my day.
The doves, with their clerical collars
and their who, whoo-whoo, keep up their inquiry,
not letting go of that old question: just who is
sitting here, custodian of an empty mug,
whoever he once was now someone else,
holding on to what is gone, the collared doves
flying off as the fog lifts and another
Florida day, exactly like yesterday, heats up.
Robert Cording taught English and creative writing at College of the Holy
Cross for thirty-eight years and worked as a poetry mentor in the Seattle Pacific
University MFA program. He has published nine collections of poems, the latest
of which is Without My Asking, and a volume of essays on poetry and religion,
Finding the World’s Fullness.
Originally published in NOR 29.