Someone Asks Me to Consider Time

Kant says time is neither event nor thing.

Well, I think. That’s that.

But then Teresa calls.
She’s found my old letters.
There are dead dogs in them, old boyfriends;
the miscarriage is happening
(has happened)
and I have to catch a plane.
The plane has      (not yet)
taken off.

Sundials, T squares,
heartbeats, and the equinox.
In places of worship, incense burns.
All to mark no thing.

Here, wind moves water in one direction,
then another. Some mornings,
nothing ripples, not leaves,
not iridescence on birdwing, beetle back.
Some mornings,
both: stillness, unrest.

Last season’s loon calls.
And sometimes? I can’t remember the lake
where I first heard that sound,
though the vision of it rises
through a paint-flecked pane.

On my morning walk: a hawk
perched on a telephone wire above
what used to be a hayfield:
rusted New Holland baler,
bobolinks and meadowlarks
saved from the mower.
That was a generation ago,
dead farmers, dead cows.

is not the time,
moles, voles, mice,
to dart into the light.

Nothing stops in stillness
except solstice
when the sun stands still in declination.

I should tell someone this,
that we are not propelled beyond a moment
of observation, even loss, into something else:
field edge, lakeside, motherhood.
But that, instead, we are always
on our way.

On my return, the wire’s empty.
The hawk has hunted or not,
is sated
or continues,
Hunger, at least, returns.

Once, in different water,
my daughters waded naked
after mussels. Appendages,
these daughters were. I was
accustomed to the creases
behind their knees
where I kept their pulse.

Keep these, too: ships’ bells and steeple chimes,
an hourglass, the pharaoh’s water clock.

Now, on a floating dock,
my daughters sun themselves, swing limbs
above water that soon enough
will be ice.

These days, you can lift saliva
off the back of a stamp,
determine who licked it.
And that woman?
That sender?

She will have stopped
and she will
not yet
have stopped        and she will still be