99.9%


There is a smell of soap nearby and I wonder
if that is me, smelling so cleanly of childhood Ivory,
99.9% pure.

When I walk in the woods by the river
I smell warm cinnamon, sweet and peppery,
and my pup jumps through sage
at things that scutter and run.

Here are Sunday thoughts.
I consider the reasons for open and shut
shut and open. Times for each in their turn.

Lit candles in mid afternoon.
Still-sitting silence, tea-making and child-kissing.
Sheets blowing on the clothesline,
a string quartet, a man with a voice
like bees buzzing and then another quartet.

Sound making counting, counting the years
on my mother’s birthday, the dollars in my bank,
the days til school begins and evenings come longer,
the time since hearing one person’s voice or another,
the miles between me
and you.

I had a lover once who counted
every regret, cross-referenced and backed up
so as not to forget any small drop of loss.

And another who counted no losses
at all, whose touch was precise, a string quartet,
who put in my pocket upon leaving
a bag full of marbles, rose petals and stones.

One day, doing my wash, I found them and tucked
them in a drawer with my softened socks
and summer shorts. They smelled like cleaning,
99.9% pure, they smelled like sound.

They fit in the palm of my hand
and remain uncountable.

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