“Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.” 
― W.H. Auden, Selected Poems

Strange and unwanted miracle, this sudden slowing
of my thoughts from the speed of light (or
sound when I was quick enough
to get them on paper) to the speed
of water: gurgling and tumbling along
quick or slow, over rocks and roots, pulling
me along, giving me moments to rise for air
if it is daytime, or if at night
no time to rise at all
so that I have had to grow gills
and navigate my way through oceans
of dreams that make perfect sense until
I reach the next morning's shore.

But the nightmares are receding. I don't scream
anymore, don't thrash, and I am grateful
for now there is no one to wake me and tell me
it isn't real; that things are, after all, alright.
I have learned to do this for myself
--say, 'it is alright. It is not real--whatever it is
that terrifies you; it is not real.'

Sometimes I miss the speed of light.

I remember the grace in flight
I remember all possibilities rushing past as I fell
before I knew it for a fall--when I still believed
I could survive anything, even gravity
even the reins of my own existence
even the death of the god I worshiped back then
the one I believed could overcome anything.

I used to wonder if Icarus would take a second
flight if given the chance; if resurrected
from water and flame, his femurs unbroken
his spine put back together, piece by puzzle piece
his exploded heart
somehow un-scattered from the winds
and his magnificent wings granted their pinions 
would Icarus glance upward,
let his passion flame to life again?
Would he worship Love, that fierce god?

I know the answer now.  
When you hit that hard
you never catch your breath
you never quite get it back again.
I wonder what the psychs would tell Icarus
if he landed on their couch,
what sorts of drugs they'd prescribe
to make him forget
to quell the nightmares
to rein in his dreams toward something 
made less of fire and air
more of earth and water.

I grieve for him a little--think of him at night
before I go under the waves.
I don't glance upward too often these days
just go murmuring and tumbling, just
follow the thoughts and the flow 
just let things go
as they will and take it for what it is
this unwanted miracle
this diluted life that is, after all
still mine.

KB © 3/22/2013


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