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The Future

ISSUE:  Fall 2006

I would speak to it as to a stream in the forest
where infant ferns grow shapely as serpents or violins.

I would surrender to it if I could drift among the stars
as among a cloud of milkweed spores, or jellyfish.

Years turn, like autumn leaves; they pass,
and we number them, like galaxies or symphonies,
when we should honor them with names,
like hurricanes, or the craters of the moon.

What will Arcturus ever mean to me
compared to these years—1962, 1986, 2005?

They march beside me like siblings,
they are more intimate than lovers,
they do not turn back when I fall behind.

The future watches us and marvels
at our inability to comprehend it.

Even Einstein only glimpsed its shores,
like Magellan, planting small vineyards
at the edge of the ice, like Erik the Red.

To view it plainly we would need to evict
the self from its rough settlement,
to strip the bark from our limbs and branches,
to reside in a place where atoms and stars
resemble shy animals learning to eat from our hand.

Only then would the future, like a lonely hermit,
find its way to that clearing by the stream in the forest,
and sit beside us on a mossy stone, and listen.



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