speaking to knowledge,
finally, in my bones.
– Wendell Berry (“The Gathering”)
On the staircase, generations stepped,
fathers above sons, as if a portrait
of success in stern, reoccurring dreams
that have no place for me
in the old house—a dark fortress now
with high ceilings and glass chandeliers,
Oriental carpets preserved in stale air.
Yet from my mouth they speak,
reverberations in my skull come true,
time and again, phrases on landmarks
in the wilderness of circumstance
for me to find with my own tongue.
The space between my bones
pops and cracks like knotty pine
bleeding into a high-country fire, bright
cloud of embers rising to the stars
above us all. I grow more deliberate,
measuring with my eye, tasting sweet
words that with plodding come
deliciously useful, beautiful notions
that with love have borne fruit.
Last night, the only two I knew
came back to me grinning, gray
outside eyes asquint and pleased—
but without praise, as always.
We have found our simple way
near to this earth and all its beasts,
learning a common dialect
that speaks, ultimately, in our bones.