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All Distance

 Writing from Boston, where sky is simply
property, a flourish topping crowds
of condos and historic real estate,
I'm trying to imagine blue sky:
the first time, where it happened,
what I was becoming.
Being taken there by car, from a town so newly born that grass still accounted all distance, an explanation drawn in measureless yellows, a tone stubbling the whole world, ten minutes away.
Consider now how the single pussy willow edging a cattle pond in winter becomes a wind-shivered monument to what this mean a placid loneliness asking nothing, nothing?.
Not knowing then the proper name for things green chubs of milo, the husbandry of soy, bovine patience, the rhythm of the cud, sea green foam washing round a cow's mouth, its tender udders, the surprise of an animal's dignity.
but something comes before Before car or cow, before sky becomes.
That sky, I mean, disregarded as buried memory .
There was a time before.
Remember when the tiny sightless hand could not know, not say hand, but knew it in its straying, knew it in the cool condensation steaming the station wagon windows, thrums of heat blowing a brand of idiot's safety over the brightly-wrapped package that was then your body, well-loved? This must have been you, looking out at that world of flat, buttered fields and blackbirds ascending.
' But what was sky then? Today, I receive a postcard of a blue guitar.
Here, snow falls with wings, tumbling in its feathered body, melting on the window glass.
How each evening becomes another beautiful woman holding the color of expensive sapphires against her throat, I'll never know.
It is an ordinary clarity.
So then was it music? Something like love or words, a sentimental moment once years ago, that blue sky? How soon the sky and I have grown apart.
On the postcard, an old man hangs half-dead, strung over his instrument, and what I have imagined is half-dead, too.
Our bones end hollow, sky blue; the flute comes untuned.

Poem by Erin Belieu
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