Many times, my mother told me
not not to cry,
but that I did not cry
when I was born.
Just science, or
astrology (or an unnamed
twofold field of study)
Still, at this juncture
of my life, out of that first juncture
I need to try
to make more.
Was it actually a demand, my hushed,
undivided acceptance of life,
after as well as before the cord was cut?
A demand for what? Did silence clarify? Did further silence
cleanse the hard life I had yet to scratch the surface of?
Did established silence, as it struck me
that I could breathe, into a powder
grind my throat, a powder not
so fine that it couldn’t be reversed,
that my potential
vocal cords were an omen of the physical world?
Or was I, in effect, a completed
cadence, a resounded sound looking through
the world for dry images of the set distances from farm
to farm evolving into the peaceful city
where I was born?
In my own nameless world,
supremely ignorant of all but love’s conceit,
I believe my mother, gone now, in so many words, in the throes
of the mother of all wisdom generated,
but not bound, by facts,
was telling me that the day of my death
will, without a plea for answers,
or a cry for questions, arrive.
THE DAYS OF MY BIRTH
This morning, for instance, I let the rain fall,
as if in it I had
appealing neither to gravity nor to
my unraised, unphased
THE VALLEY OF
I take the child inside me back to a place far,
far below the sky.
There’s a house there with a place for fire,
fire after a spark,
like an ax, makes kindling out of a stump rounder
than any tree ring.
All over the place are tall plants widening
as they fall, tall plants
being planted sometime after a seed
conceived the child, and
the child a seed. Beyond the place,
life only goes forward,
so it goes, and beyond the stone garden
path in the viewless
back yard, a hearth can’t conceive a new heart,
so it, the old heart,
goes on being a child, not quite living up to
its latter self.
No rooms to breathe.
Front window after front window looks out at
building more fences with tall pieces of thick
kindling, and now
it’s time to reach the end, the end stagnant,
one more word, just
one more word, before the shadow of.
Douglas Nordfors is a native of Seattle, and lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since 1987, he has published poems in journals such as “The Iowa Review,” “Quarterly West,” “Poetry Northwest,” and “Poet Lore,” and recent work has appeared in “Burnside Review,” “The Louisville Review,” “Matter,” “OccuPoetry,” “Tipton Poetry Journal,” and others. His two books of poetry are “Auras” (2008), and “The Fate Motif” (2013).