Thomas C. Kelly

out of somewhere

“…to be small and clear and free.” (J.A.)

at a certain point
the preliminary stages
fall away, burn up
in an atmosphere
of unremembered things,
like the present, no longer
here but present somewhere,
to be recovered perhaps,
an idea, thought to be extinct,
resurfacing and washing up
on an atoll just now
coming into being,
never thought to be
of any use. what then?

advance in darkness, drifting
weightlessly, encapsulated,
briefly suspending belief
in the parochial orbit
of the sun, yet fearful
of its guilty whispers,
knowing somehow that Time
will have its beginning
again, in other, unsuspecting minds,
the gravity of decay cutting
the tenuous, unseen cord,
so that going forth more
horrifies than when we entered
first? all is as it was:

the ancient earth awaits;
the hopeful season begins
anew, and all things
perishable return,
untethered now to the world
of possibility. we prevail
over the prevailing winds
while the sun looks elsewhere.

one day, the swimming ends:
the ocean retreats, withdraws
its icy tongue in riffled spit,
a hoary, weathered hag
become a sudden stranger,
impossible to touch,
enter or embrace, a thing
to wonder at only,
a different self.

she told us one morning
how the sun would expand
and incinerate the Earth
and all the inner planets:
she was beautiful that day.

outside on the playground
a child held open
its winter coat like wings
and flew in a circle
the orbit of its shadow.

now its shadow sits and waits:
she was the goddess, the prophet,
and the prophecy; she babbles
us back to our nativity,
murmuring pithy half-truths.

the world continues to wonder
what it is, as if a phone call
or a car arriving now outside
could make things whole again:
what brought us here no one can say.

we are lifted half-awake
from the back-seat of memory
onto bear-like shoulders
that move us for a moment
from one time to another time.

Thomas C. Kelly has taught, read, and written poetry for the past thirty-five years. He has been invited to read his poems at several local venues and had several of them published in obscure journals. Despite his advancing years, he continues to read and write avidly.