Photo by Christopher Raley

The Green Years

In the green years ambition’s angle to
security’s notch did not seem so steep
as to be impossible to climb.
But I never told anyone
of the empty space around me
(named by so abstract a word
and yet, how real), and now
I can’t recover that narrow road
we walked behind houses lining the beach
where mist and wood-smoke hung in pine boughs.
It is dark and bitter on my tongue
after what was sweet and forward is gone,
that a man obsesses over
a man’s obsession
and both are caught together at sea.

In the green years I demanded of God
that he make me a pilot
in the image of Chuck Yeager
casting out of earth’s gravity
the demons we invent
(O, that small jet was treacherous,
hunched for a fight).
But I will be buried in the ground,
and the morning dove,
the bird I have always know
and never seen, will breathe and sigh
its song of simple resignation,
as he did when I was a child.