SEARCHING FOR SIGNS OF LIFE, A ZUIHITSU
~for Audrey Rían
Even in the sluggish hours, I listen for signs of life. And when the moon clicks into the night sky, I hear it calling.
According to NASA, we are returning to the moon. We’ve missed her or maybe she’s missed us.
I text my friend Lynda. We’ve lost touch. I am worried. Dark side of the moon kind of worried. She texts back. We make space on our calendars. I star the time.
When I balance on the white picket fence my love built, I wonder if there are limits to the liminal. Above me, the crows perch on the telephone wire. No one uses landlines anymore. We are all relics of a recent past.
I have circled the earth of my midlife crisis. From far away, it looks so peaceful, and blue.
Somewhere down there is a ship. My mother walks in circles on its deck as it lays anchored in the blue.
On Google Earth, I drop in on my children. At one son’s, I see the blue Suburu parked in the driveway. They are growing a baby. She is tethered by umbilical as she floats in the space of my daughter-in-law.
At another son’s, I see the sea restless on the continental edges. He wrestles the contours of a new geography. Even my daughter’s dog looks up from her backyard, barks at my strangeness.
This is to say, I need to feel the earth when the next space mission lifts off, to feel the vibrations of my granddaughter’s heartbeat.
This is to say, when the harvest moon rises next September, gaudy and golden, I will greet it holding a sign of life.
THE WEATHER LETTERS
Hello Mother let’s sit in the garden.
Boughs stripped yet neon lit in the sun’s fade.
We’ve come to ward off winter—
watch the teals slice the pond’s surface.
Shall I memorialize you? Make
this bench yours, always. West facing.
I can’t sit with that pain, yet.
Before the sunset, the leaves to be raked—
a stunning heartbreak of yellow, orange, red.
If we stop for every historic mark, we will never
arrive at the clutch of bleeding heart,
like clasped hands genuflecting against the chill.
Tie the camas in ribbon, bind the sun’s ceding rays.
I will lay them at your feet, Mother.
O the sky’s a swell of questioning clouds.
Such is the uncontrollable nature of weather,
the hormonal tic of desire, or time’s constant presence.
O let us return to those once windowed days. O
how the air cradled our laughter like the spray
of your Norell. What lingers—
I can still hear the dinner chime,
the chair scrape of family.
One day, we’ll lie beneath the stink
of marigolds. But not today—
when the trees shake their tamarind leaves.
and I’ve yet to harvest the potatoes.
We’ve forgotten how to lace our boots.
As if winter arrived backwards:
The Weather Letters, page 2
snow, leaves falling, ripening tomatoes,
Our dog sniffs the snow, pees.
We crunch toward home.
The sun, a blue sky—
distractions as we bury
the year before it’s even begun. Perished
like camellias glazed by frost.
And there, a woodpecker, carving our names.
Heidi Seaborn is author of PANK Poetry Prize winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, the acclaimed debut Give a Girl Chaos and Comstock Chapbook Award-winning Bite Marks. Recent work in Beloit Poetry Journal, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Diode, Financial Times of London, The Missouri Review, The Offing, The Slowdown and the Washington Post. Heidi is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and holds an MFA from NYU. heidiseabornpoet.com