wishing well


“All this, colored and in a thousand different forms, had always been there. The sun and moon had always shone; the rivers had always flowed and the bees had hummed, but in previous times all this had been nothing to Siddhartha but a fleeting and illusive veil before his eyes, regarded with distrust, condemned to be disregarded and ostracized from the thoughts, because it was not reality, because reality lay on the other side of the visible…All this had always been and he had never seen it; he was never present. Now he was present and belonged to it. Through his eyes he saw light and shadows; through his mind he was aware of moon and stars.”

-Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha (1951)

The calender and
the cottonwoods
and quaking aspens
gilt and
scant in leaf
declared it autumn,
as much—but on
this day,
and on
these pellucid waters,
gelid and
aquamarine and quiescent,
the breath of
summer lingers
like fog
on glass:
warming boulders of
granite and
incensing the air with cedar
and sage
and pitch of pine,
it presents a
fleeting, evaporative window
upon which to inscribe,
with a fingertip,
those last burning wishes
of a season

For what shall i wish?
i cannot decide;
i am at a loss to say—
i toss stones to splash,
skip, carom off
rocks and sink
below the pane

It ripples, wavers, is still again

None to bear witness but
the chipmunks, the nuthatches
and nutcrackers,
grebes, gulls,
crawdads and
mergansers—all punk-duck
swagger with
false teeth—
but even then
i cannot decide,
and plish!
go the rocks

It behooves me to thank
the instigator, the
green-eyed monster,
buff in deltoideus
and trapezius
and latissimus dorsi,
for this privilege
of place

(and also that coprolitic
car, our means of conveyance)

and find that,
standing swim-suited
and goose-pimpled, sun-dried
on the shore of the continent’s
largest alpine lake—it is
late october and balmy, perfect—
i can think of nothing to wish for
but this


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