Relax. No more the thinness of ceremony.
Largemouth bass at the bottom of Kapowsin Lake
grow still as his thoughts. No swish and silt,
no father and flail. And once perfectly still, they grow
even stiller. Nothing’s wasted, says the Lord of the Underworld.
Stillness is economy, and economy exchange.
While he could still speak, my father asked,
“How should I pray for you?”
The curled buds of the bracken fern form
a forest of question marks.
The backhoe operator shuts it down, raises two fingers
towards me and walks off in the rain. Dad’s settled
in for the ride, easy now in his pressed suit
and polished shoes. Heavy drops dimple
the freshly turned dirt. Rainbows of oil in the puddles.
What’s left is centuries of silence. Such perfect
repose. And potato salad back at the potluck.
Should we look for Orpheus among the living?
Should we look for Orpheus among the dead?
Father of riches. Seed the soil, smelt the ore.
We’ve put on our workboots. We’ve crossed into
mythology, crossed over. In the underworld,
grief is poor currency. Beneath the camus prairies,
the second-growth Douglas fir and three bodies
of water, an Atlas of darkness shoulders a
weightless world of light. In the underworld, grief is
the only currency, and music after prayers.
Said Archimedes, “With a long-enough lever
and a place to stand, I will move the earth.”
Copyright © Aaron Baker
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.