A poem by Joseph Heithaus
I wandered lonely as a cloud
This is the sun turning the white sycamore
into lemon peel, then butter yellow.
This is what comes
out of the dark earth
on the anniversary of my father’s death,
the day after the day of fools,
the day before my mother’s birthday,
and this year on Good Friday.
These are the flowers
dotting the unkempt yard
I pass, knowing once long ago
the bulbs were planted
and forgotten. They are a history
of digging at the ground, perhaps
a woman pushing
the sweat from her forehead
with the back of a gloved hand,
the smell of leaves
burning around her, the sound
of a rake scraping the grass.
This is a second
burning through the yellow flute
of my father’s last breath,
my mother’s cry as an infant swaddled
in a bassinet at the end
of the old wooden bed
passed on to us.
And this is Christ,
crying out Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani
in the old story
hung on this spring day
like the trees that have yet to bud
and leaf. This is the edge
of a path forgotten,
the daffodils in a line to a place
no longer there,
but they are the sun dawning,
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude.
The Indiana Humanities Council is posting poems on Think.Read.Talk. by Hoosier poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. Other Indiana celebrations include poetry readings at the Artsgarden (above the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets, Indianapolis), performed each Monday at 12:15 p.m. For a schedule of events, click here.