We are all going into a world of dark.
And that’s okay,
Given the wing-wrung alternative.
It’s okay. That’s where the secrets are,
The big ones, the ones too tall to tell.
The way in is twisty and torturous,
but easy, they say, easy.
The way out, however, is unavailable, and not to be mimed.
Hard to remember that when the full moon
offers its efficacy
Downwind through the winter weeds,
Unpeeling its limitless hope.
But not, at least for tonight, for us.
Not for us, bystanders back from the river of light.
So file down your fingertips, boys,
and pull on your skins.
Incandescense is temporary, we know, but it still shines.
And that’s it. My life has been spent
trying to leave it.
As though an invisible figure in a Schneeman landscape of Tuscany,
I’ve always wanted to be elsewhere,
Hair on fire, a radiance
My shoes golden, my heart tucked away
back under my shirtsleeve.
Not now, not ever, the world in winter.
And this is what comforts us,
Bare trees, bare streets, bare expectations.
Our lives are spent here,
our ho-hum and sweet, existential lives,
Stories of cirrus and cumulus.
And why not, this world has been good to us,
the sun goes up and the sun
Goes down, the stars release and disappear,
everything tutta gloria wherever we turn our faces.
“‘I’ve Been Sitting Here Thinking Back Over My Life…'”
is excerpted from Caribou.
Chosen for FSG Poetry Month by Chris Richards.
Charles Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize, teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.