Nuclear Sun, poem by James Grabill

      I. Hieroglyphic Dust in the Air

      A barn collapses and fills again with wind
      and light over the little ant. It’s like breathing,
      the scarab beetle scrambling along an edge.
      And God must be riding a horse made of wild energy.
      And that horse probably eats grass out there
      at the far reaches behind the black mask of the rainstorm,
      where the trees made from bones are still standing
      and the mushroom rings and celery tastes.

      “Wake up, little brothers,” the moon says to its oceans.
      Isn’t it like that, centering of sun in space of each atom,
      in space of the spiraling, saucering galaxy
      much larger than the Milky Way, with dragonflies
      that pulse with stars for their bodily atoms
      flying the first creation this is?

      II. Walking Beneath Cottonwoods in Early Spring

      Hours before leaves begin, we walk beneath old cottonwoods
      at night, a few scattered stars letting us be here,
      the trees holding as roots of the air, in the split second
      of eternity, for what do we know that isn’t before
      speaking? Is it all a tree’s body, the space waiting,
      the light passing up from roots and shade-falling
      part of an ancient building through people’s arms
      in the day? In a house nearby, a girl is sleeping.

      When she becomes thirty, she will know
      how to move, unlike any other, in her way,
      in her sense. Things won’t be easy.
      She’ll need to be stronger than anyone she knows.

      The roots of the air are ready to break into leaves.
      But why would God’s horse be thirsty and hungry?
      You could say both God and the horse would be
      hungry because all the blinding blue
      blazes yellow-gold suns so white and empty.

      The cottonwoods are doing it, in waves of light
      from the earth and from space, as someone you love
      talks and moves closer to you, and as you
      talk, you want to tell her.

      III. Afternoon Lit by Breakers

      This afternoon lifts and releases the day,
      igniting open sky over the ocean.
      It breaks in waves
      on the surface of bean leaves.

      Old cottonwoods press powerfully
      through root roads, using the gravity
      of starlit snowfall through atomic core
      centered in the planet’s heat.

      In the churning and heaving,
      what might have fallen years before quiet,
      giving to what this is, propelling cool
      downswing and then lifting, certain

      old doors are pushed slowly as we work.
      And harmonics of wood and crickets
      live in the hollows
      that house what is said.

      IV. Morning Sun

      Blossoms burst through their shells in the sky,
      from inside the vertical sway of branches,
      the midnight emerald of leaves if you start trying
      to hope into the sun the next morning,
      if you start into the sun for which cells
      of your body are lakes and you are the fish,
      the efforts lost, sphered, a coast of breath lifting
      in the spine, sun in each molecule, the debris
      of faults, and the morning sun rising.

      Wind from morning sun opened the road.
      Bhagawan Das sang in his muddy locks
      by the ocean spinally crashing waves
      of his instrument, reaching over the dust
      path that stopped and began in long sway
      when breath was atonal stellar sky
      behind what would go on.


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Jilly Dybka
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