The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Paul Tayyar
The Wound and the Lyric
We have lived in this country of a thousand feathers,
And yet we have never taken flight.
We have mourned in this river of the weeping nymphs,
And yet we have borne no children.
We have dreamed beneath these white clouds as still as sleeping stallions,
And yet we have never prayed for rain.
The sun is the fire left over from some flash of love we refused to surrender beneath—
We have tended the wildflowers of this sprawling field,
And yet our palms are not full of petals and the poems they possess.
We have circled the trunks of redwood trees,
Swung from branch to branch and yet cannot recognize the sound of our own laughter.
See the moon's retreat for what it is, then:
A reminder that home is something that must be left behind,
And that motion is marrow for the breath.
Two Days into a Road Trip, I Stop
Beside a Small Clearing that Looks onto a Lake
There must have been a wedding here yesterday,
As I watch a bridal veil drift onto the hood of my car,
And I look out at flower petals floating on the water.
There are small footprints of a barefoot child in the dirt between two large trees,
The ghost of some flower-girl too young to understand
She was the crux of a consecration.
I do not yet know that 30 miles on I will pull off the road to look at two small crosses
That have been planted in the dirt,
Nor that the following evening I will pick up an old farmer hitchhiking his way
Back to his modest farm,
Tired after an afternoon spent searching for a horse that slipped from its stall
In the night—
Instead I eat from a small carton of strawberries I purchased from a stand
A few hours back,
Handing my money to a woman with a pendant of St. Katherine
Dangling from her tanned neck,
The gap in her front teeth as lovely as the spread wings of a bird preparing
To take flight,
And I think about the miles that I have already come,
The secret names I have afforded the stars that never shone back home,
And the song that I heard a group of old men playing in that Mexican restaurant
Just outside of Salinas,
Some ancient canción that made me think of stained-glass saints,
Holy rumors,And dream parades.
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