Here and Now

by Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian

The day comes in strips of yellow glass over trees.

When I tell you the day is a poem
I’m only talking to you and only the sky is listening.

The sky is listening; the sky is as hopeful
as I am walking into the pomegranate seeds
of the wind that whips up the seawall.

If you want the poem to take on everything,
walk into a hackberry tree,
then walk out beyond the seawall.

I’m not far from a room where Van Gogh
was a patient—his head on a pillow hearing
the mistral careen off the seawall,

hearing the fauvist leaves pelt
the sarcophagi. Here and now

the air of the tepidarium kissed my jaw
and pigeons ghosting in the blue loved me

for a second, before the wind
broke branches and guttered into the river.

What questions can I ask you?
How will the sky answer the wind?

The dawn isn’t heartbreaking.
The world isn’t full of love.

Ozone Journal

Last updated February 20, 2023