How we loved to create a world.
Out of gray we made the pin-oak leaves
with their saw teeth and odd waxy sheen,
dry and matte to the touch, out of granite
we made the marriage house, and always
we added a flaw which we called fire
or time or the stranger.
A drop of water on the lip of a jug,
trembling, trying to hold on
for another second to the idea of sphericity–
that was us, our nakedness.
We worked to thwart our happiness
because it was so unexpected;
suffering tasted like our mouths.
We had a flagstone path, a pond, four birches,
a dog racing in tight circles, helpless
against the dream of fresh snow.
Tomorrow that red Schwinn with training wheels
must find a way to pedal itself.
World like a child who learned to walk
beyond our outstretched hands.
D. Nurkse is the author of 10 books of poetry, including The Fall, Burnt Island, The Border Kingdom, and the forthcoming A Night In Brooklyn, all from Knopf. He received a 2009 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
*Photo courtesy of wintersoul1.