Sonnet of the Seven Layers

Wislawa Szymborska wrote, in her poem “Going Home,”
He exists just as he did inside his mother’s womb,
     clad in seven walls of skin, in sheltered darkness.
Case in point: I stare past the space of this heated room,
through shimmering clear plastic covering the north window
where warm air from the floor vent flows along its surface
as a summer breeze would ripple the flat sheet of a pond,
through the double-paned glass window behind the plastic,
across five minutes’ walk of grown-out pasture and potato fields,
over the winter-bare thicket of criss-cross aspen branches
and the dark green cedars and firs along the old stone wall,
to the pearly gray sky that obscures the sun
and a billion lost stars that shine beyond our small imagining.
We are wrapped in layer upon layer of enigma.


Winter Night Sonnet

How many winter nights
I had flown with the ravens
between snow and starfield
to alight on a pine branch
and roost with black feathers
puffed to the cold and shining

But I never dreamt of mice
tunneling beneath the snow
warm and drowsy and sated
from the bark of young apples
so snug and unmindful of
the muffled hum of moonlight

Until the sky engulfed me
in its vast and frozen sadness.