How Many Can You Find?

Step out onto the Planet. Draw a circle a hundred feet round. Inside the circle are 300 things nobody understands, and, maybe, nobody’s ever really seen.

—Lew Welch

I drew a circle around the heart—not even a foot around,

though within the small circumference still I found

at least 300 things that no one understands, least of all me.

A sun-filled piazza in spite of December’s leaning drifts.

Dozens of verbs like small starlings cavorting and flitting

and taking to unruly flight each time I speak.

Petals in the pulse. A leafless tea made of winter days.

Thousands of beads unstrung and flung and missing.

Kissing and endless kissing. Soles that hover above the ice.

Rooms with no walls. A fire with no ash. A moon

in every window. A jarful of stars. I am trying to say what I mean.

The more I speak, the more the miracles slip

from these lines and loosen themselves from these words,

oh damn these awkward syllables—even the ones spun from silk

turn to nooses. Can you listen to me with your hands? Come,

touch the place at the center of the circle, feel the quickening thump,

the falling and rising, the acrobatics in the theater of blood,

the wheel of the breath accelerating, the cold battle of wants,

this fearlessness growing wings.


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