The Tree Frog
BY C. DALE YOUNG
It is not the chambers of the heart that hold him
captive, but the hallways of the mind. Why
his image burning green and blue persists
—the face, the eyes questioning, the shape
of his head—is beyond anything I can understand.
What lessons must be learned to overcome
the final act of longing? This morning, sunlight
grasped at everything, but the wind swept
through the streets taking things with it,
even the soul. Sometimes the curtain does not
completely fall, and the play, barely visible,
continues. This much I know. This much
the textbooks have taught us. The blind man
Cervantes built continued to see and saw far
too much, could not accept the utter purity
of Abstraction. But is that not our essential fault?
A tree frog croaks against the backdrop of memory,
and the cold sheets and darkened room return,
but you are not here to whisper me to sleep.
The ocean’s long-windedness offers no replacement
for your voice, anxious the way it could be at night.
What is there to understand? Not the heart, certainly
not the heart that is so easily trained to forget.
Night after night, like the tree frog, I remind myself
who I am, voicing what I cannot voice during the day.
C. Dale Young, “Night Air” from The Second Person. Copyright © 2007 by C. Dale Young. Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books.
Source: The Second Person (Four Way Books, 2007)