Inside Out

I am a parody of myself.

You are a figment of your own imagination.

We witness multiple realities, but mostly from inside out.

You stand in cold rain, arms upstretched, fingers outspread, leaf and stem, trunk and root, simulacrum of a tree.

Between sea and sky there is earth, you and I, wood and fire.

Spring Has Come Early (to the footbridge over the stream above the beaver pond)

Spring has come early
to the footbridge
over the stream
above the beaver pond

and the smart money
is on the crane pair
returning to the meadow
before the equinox.

We always wish for
early spring in March
and early winter in November,
craving what we miss,

sun or snow. If only
we could take each day
as it comes, as dogs do,
as we assume the cranes do,

but who’s to say they don’t
dream of northern meadows
when they tire of their winter
homes? I imagine they long

to trace the flyways
back to their nesting grounds
and those long and lazy days,
gigging frogs and raising their colts.

(Even this poem feels incomplete,
leaves me wanting to see more,
like a blue sky reflected in the
clear and icy water of the stream.)

spring

Abaci

Wooden beads sliding on wires
held in a bamboo frame.

When someone dies, we slide
them off to the other side.

A binary abacus is used to explain
how computers manipulate numbers.

My daughter would understand,
she’d say it’s switches, either on or off.

Before beads on wires, they were simply
stones moved along grooves in the sand,

Hence the name, from the Greek,
abakos, a board covered with dust,

Perhaps from the Hebrew ʾābāq (אבק),
for dust, in the post-Biblical sense

Meaning sand used as a writing surface,
but it makes me think, again, of dust to dust.

Kids these days don’t even know
what an abacus is, the ways we subtract,

All the rough calculations of on and off.

abaciCalculating-Table by Gregor Reisch: Margarita Philosophica, 1503.