Believing Green

                                                               2810 El Paso Street, 1974

Solitary as a mast on a mountaintop,
an ocean of knowing long withdrawn,

she dittied the days, grew fluent in cat,
felt, she said, each seed surreptitiously split

the adamantine dark, believing green.
It was the town's torpor washed me to her door,

it was the itch existence stranded me on that shore
of big-lipped shells pinked with altogether other suns,

random wall-blobs impastoed with jewels and jowls
sometimes a citizen seemed to peek through,

inward and inward all the space and spice
of her edible heavens.

O to feel again within the molded dough
wet pottery, buttery cosmos, brain that has not cooled;

to bring to being an instant
sculpture garden: five flashlit jackrabbits locked in black.

From her I learned the earthworm's exemplary open-mindedness,
its engine of discriminate shit.

From her I learned all the nuances of neverness
that link the gladiola to God.

How gone she must be, graveless maybe,
who felt the best death would be for friends to eat you,

whose last name I never even knew:
dirt-rich mouse-proud lady who Rubied me

into a life so starred and laughtered there was no need
for after.

Christian Wiman, "Believing Green" from Once in the West. Copyright © 2014 by Christian Wiman.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Source: Once in the West (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2014)
More Poems by Christian Wiman