Jennifer Clarvoe


A Cradle

Woman listening to the sky,
releasing the sounds to anyone, everyone, and no one in
it isn't human nature to lie down beneath a thing,
but you can lie down beneath this;
the sky has everything to give, and an unmade bed.

The ferns fall, randomly, many with golden bear-claws at the roots,
wanton as their fronds, everything opening;
extravagance, yes, is the obvious essence of the sky;
the sky is a giver, slow to let go a reluctant sigh.

There are others besides me who have unwrapped themselves
    from that sigh--
whose bodies continue to offer thanks; the birds still wing
    past them
for their fingertips flourish;

women lift kites, tickled by the notion they might be consecrating
    a cradle,
and stand still, together--the ribbons of the tails
fluttering apart like the tips of milkweed pods as if there were only
    and everywhere birth.

The sheets undo each other in ripples--beautiful over the disparate
    fluff of clouds,
and flare up, gasping, while the sky crashes in and out of the branches;
the moles tunnel under the ground unimaginably slowly, and humming as they
    never have--
the glittering bees lift off from the bark of the trees unmoving beneath them;

and the sky, over the dark streaming canyons and silence of caves,
retreats, as it might always, looking as if it is that sky into which
released things are bound to rise--
into which if they make a beeline, it is either with will-lessness or

This Negative Image of Marianne Moore's "A Grave"
is 1997 by Jennifer Clarvoe