The Impossible

By JED MYERS

POETRY SEMIFINALIST

Early May, a cool evening, late
enough in this life I welcome the stray
cottonwood tuft on my jacket sleeve,

loose tangle of fine white hairs
caught on the nap of the light
wool weave. I watch it shiver

there in an imperceptible breeze,
thin airy bundle, sunset-tinted,
stuck for the moment inches

up from my cuff. No bother,
no omen, it doesn’t suggest
the least imminence. It’s meant

for me as much as the white strip
I’d slip from a crisp fortune cookie.
It hasn’t been sent nor found me

an essential stop on its way
to fulfill its fertility, this
weightless fluff seed raft—no news

out of the unseen in its touching
down, nor in how it takes off
just now on a faint gust, gliding

out over the asphalt of 65th
with no eye for the soil, no small wheel
nor rudder, adrift as its countless

blind cousins the snow of the Populus
trees clustered a block or so south
by the footbridge above the ravine.

No steerage but wind for the gene-bearing
husks, most never to open
their cores to the moist earth, they’ll melt

back into the world in doorways, gutters,
cracks in the road and sidewalk, stuck
returning to dust with no chance

to unfold. Some have the luck
to settle on spring-wet dirt, uncoil
their code scrolls, sprout, and spread out

their deltoid leaves, to become
the cottonwood trees, shedding their own
bright cotton. By no prophecy,

no keen discernment nor any
deserving, another spring evening,
I was a kite of loose fiber let go

on buffeting currents and scudded
to a weedy loam patch. I took,
and my heart hatched in the ground of this

fortunate madness, love. Here I am
in its deepening shade, where I claim
the impossible—that this will last

longer than the broad cottonwoods stand
in their seasoned slow slow dance.
And all by the catch of a thread.

 

Jed Myers lives in Seattle, where he works as a psychiatrist with a therapy practice and teaches at the University of Washington. His poetry collections include Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), the chapbook The Nameless (Finishing Line Press), and a chapbook forthcoming from Egress Studio Press. His work has received Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Literal Latte Poetry Award, Blue Lyra Review’s Longish Poem Award, and, in the UK, the McLellan Poetry Prize. Myers’ poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Summerset Review, Harpur Palate, Crab Creek Review, Cider Press Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. He has recently been guest poetry editor for the journal Bracken.


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