"The Book’s Secret"

Every sentence can be read in an almost infinite number of ways!
                                                                           David Hawkes on the I Ching

Earth. Plumes of smoke, bedrock, the planet ball gone astray in expanding words. You stumble from winter to summer, a country humming with voices, engines, brighter accents. Before a mother is buried, the fight for succession unhinges marvelous frames.

Heaven. It lifts shadow-air above clouds. A rare synchronicity––the sky does not fall on the tops of buildings, an earnest darkness encircles the stars. Through eye-cracks, you search there, beaming a light low and high. The way small birds know where to turn to.  

Mountain. To find your bearings, stay with the ground. Light lingers, then trembles beyond the ridge. Beware––some hold out with guns, some are never heard of again. A crevice may be as deep as ice. The wise person measures beyond a rock-strewn path.

Water. Look for it in cracks and brackish inlets. You are wishful with yarrow sticks–– coins sprinkle like droplets on your face. A shadow-fish darts sideways. The dead sea floats you home––arms out, head loose, almost submerged. Gone wild, it will gather.

Wind. Streams of flotsam brush your skin––monsoon, föhn, trade winds. Breezes of longing push a stroller up the hill. Your umbrella turns into a black little dragon, your daughter journeys to see the outposts, the ten wings––let go. A meadow arranges itself.

Thunder. Peasant’s loss, a shepherd’s warning. In and out the barn door, spoken in tongues. Gather your marbles––streaks of light befall the palace, the hut. When the leader rages against another’s fear, count your neighbors. The spine listens, shudders.   

Fire. Not so fast––it is breath unbridled. Waiting for the bus, you burn a little trash, steep a cup of tea for the ride. Morning smoke hangs over the rice paddies of your childhood. Coals in the courtyard––no harm. Invite a stranger to warm her hands.

Lake. Open up––a lake is an eye, unforgiving, like the dream of a great fish. A lake does not lilt, but it takes courage. If it dries up, the dock juts into toxic dust. When a dam breaks––but now you think harm into the picture. Let one lake rest on another.


                                                                        Sugar House Review 15, Spring/Summer 2017