Whether with Borders
These seasons, you’re never sure whether
the weather of now steps through
or over the barbed-wire borders
of others’ spaces, but here the clouds—
as textured as clogged lungs—hover
precariously close to the past of then. Face
it; each night, you still breathe in faces
clamoring across borders—their weather
of worry: the wind that stalls and hovers
over the landscape of you. Born a nomad, you threw
shadows across lightning; watched clouds,
heavy but mute, re-form foggy borders.
Spaces, wide and open, still haunt, the sky a bad border
you can’t evict. Her mottled, gray face—
begging always for mercy—keeps clouding
the view. Weather, whether, the calm eye of whatever
blur in the whirlwind you try to step through
into space that fences home, hovers
in the sun-streaked rain that hovers
with its empty promise over the bare soil. Borders
call from across the horizon. You yearn to walk to and through,
to hold close your cloak of questions and face
the unreliable temper tantrums of weather
prophesied in each Rorschach of clouds.
Fair skies/foreboding? The clichés of memory choose “cloudy,”
that fifty percent chance of happiness hovering
over your front porch seconds before you decide whether
to step off into the forecasted storm, just beyond your borders,
the ones that make you feel safe, but aren’t. You face
the inevitable, wandering wind; hitchhike through
any opening into the future, now through,
you promise, with all that’s past. The back-lit clouds
beckon, and your aging, weathered face
forges on into the unpredictable. Hope hovers
in the breeze you breathe beyond borders
in that lush language that uncovers whether
or not each wave of weather crosses over and through
to broader spaces, gathering ancestors, former selves, all that hovers
so close now to hope, to your un-cloudy, border-less face.
This photograph and poem were previously published in Glint.
Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I(Sandstone Book Award)--the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist Children’s Educational Category 2020 International Book Awards), and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry;I’m Feeling Blue, Too!--Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Forthcoming in 2021 is her book Begin with a Question (Paraclete Press), as well as her ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias, Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts). For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
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