Clinging to the belly of a bay leaf is shadow.
Multiply this times a number too long
to speak, and you have the world
in which, God help me, I collect into myself
twenty-seven hundred gallons of air,
a daily hoarding to which the leaf-shaped shadow
makes no remark.

I am saddest when I mend.
a healing restiveness, blood stirring.
look into the young gone face
of a painter, a poet, a healer,
who let fly some potent spirit
into the mottled world ―
how long ago I failed
at that, appending such glory
and soul, too busy
collecting oxygen and ease.

Thus diagnosed I suffer,
driving familiar morning curves.
briefly the world might crystallize,
spherical drifting moments enhanced
by congestion from a recent cold ―
I also see this disappear.

One thumb on the steering wheel, not hearing
the hum of the engine, in this way
one watches oneself become, without stopping
to inquire or, mostly, to grieve.