To my brother & all those radicalized by extremism
It has been so dry.
Now, new flowers straighten
in the hiss of rain & the wild falls
pick up, taller than Niagara herself.
The soft shale is carried away. This is Ithaca,
birth, home. When you were a child,
we found your name carved
into the limestone. You
pulled at my shirt collar as I held you
beneath the pounding waterfall-dreaming:
a silent vertebra formed in the fossil
of your body.
This morning, I sift the talus
for Trilobite without you. I look up
at the resistant layers, the caprock refusing
to crumble, the old men in me.
The Geneseo is still in love
& asks after you often.
You are not sadness, but you are not here either.
One spring, you stood under the geometry of heaven,
infinite pins of light, all wet sinew & nerve, you leapt
from the brink into the plunge pool,
emptied yourself, a cascade
turbid with the white sediment of violence.
Many years have gone by since then.
Many years still since you said,
commit to the falling of water. Did you mean,
its crashing furrow,
The mark it leaves:
past & settlement
on the mist & moon & crowded earth?
I look up at the Ithacan walls around me, hardness ignited in rain,
abundance trenched up from the Late Devonian, 15,000 years
of shale & flow. Compassion can be like this – a dark trapeze,
an ancient mouth, then rain,
&, when you least expect it, light