Brooke Bergan

The Nature of Belief

       Mary Oliver, Chicago, 10-02-03

Where's Helen, asked the horse
intensely part of and separate
from the lines parallel
to devotion two swallows
bicker one wins we applaud wildly all that
nice money the soul not discussed but belief
which is easier than not so as usual
taking the hard sand at the bottom
of sea, and love too natural as bird
bone compressed into rock
weighty with time French
love on a beach worn smooth
waves ticking back & forth don't talk
about auras either, says the queen
of soul out west birds fall fast
through downdrafts as motorless planes
called gliders until we're all tired, thrush
though sounds better than ambulance
unless you're real New York rain
out the window when you can
stay home is just water, precursor of
not one damn thing, the choice to believe
perhaps dangerous or at least
your own version is the rose or
the worm or Raine suddenly seeing
a flower in its vase straight through
to the checkered cells and then some
nothing happened between
scummy stems and the bright
heads, syntax at last
sliding in from its summer
vacation and don't lecture me
about the impudence of
snow over the electronic whelk
of moistness meaning napping birds
tuck their newness into sweaters the
stars in flapping boots waterproofed by
improbability the architect perhaps prefers
this public space filled with clouds
and other rubble smelling of
honeysuckle rotting in a cracked
simplicity like beauty or a
kindly old starfish named after
a thing it does not resemble
except as optical illusion on
a field of blue our enemies claim as
well and yet it is we say
pretty much all of
us like a cup of
resentful about summer as fall
approaches cold and wicked with
promise of darkness, my own
lush, deadly so damn long it
would make you sentimental for
teleology, the brittle bright day
dappled with eternity interrupted
by translucence.