Winter Garden

by Donald Britton

Donald Britton

for Robert Dash

A permanent occasion
Knotted into the clouds: pink, then blue,
Like a baby holding its breath, or colorless

As the gush and pop of conversations
Under water. You feel handed from clasp to clasp,
A concert carried off by the applause.

Other times half of you is torn
At the perforated line and mailed away.
You want to say, "Today, the smithereens

Must fend for themselves,"
And know the ever-skating decimal's joy,
To count on thin ice

Growing thinner by degrees, taking its own
Sweet time and taking us with it,
To navigate magnetic zones in which

Intense ecstatic figures touch, like worlds,
But don't collide, it being their devotion
To depend on you to name for each

A proper sphere. "Today, I turn to silence;
Let the language do the talking."
X the Unknown and his laughable, lovable crew,

The tumbling balconies of one-of-us-is-a-robot-
And-it's-not-me waves
(Spanking a beach so empty

If you weren't around to trip me
Would I really fall?) and days
When the wind is a bridge across our power

To enumerate, to dig, to plant, to hold
And to communicate the twill-and-tweed-
Covered field's coldness

Toward our game of enticing it indoors,
As if we could erect a rival gate to the departure
Whose uniform destination can't surprise,

Is blind, speaks not,
When on those white and sudden afternoons
I take your eyes, and see the sun set twice.

Last updated September 27, 2022