White Sheets

Airstrike hits wedding party—breaking news

The empty laundry basket
fills with molecules of light. 
She stands beside it, arms falling
into the aftermath of the task.
Gesture is a proto-language
researchers say: the same circuits
light the brain when a chimp
signals help me please (hand
outstretched, palm up) as when
human beings process speech. 
In the cave the hunter figure
mirrors his spear’s trajectory
towards the deer it will never,
of course, attain. The woman
sees nothing untoward. Her body
bars the spattered something
in the middle distance, though all
of this is right up close: the shed
they’ll use to dress the meat, the plane
geometry of white sheets
on a line.  The world is beautiful,
she thinks, or feels, as deer
sense something coming
and move out of range.  Beautiful,
the woman thinks, and lifts
the laundry basket to her arms—
beautiful, and orderly.


                       (The Forward Book of Poetry 2013 and White Sheets, CB editions, 2012)