We lie on blankets in the grass
grateful for the scratchy wool
in the sudden chill of night
deep within the virgin forest
at a family reunion far from our homes.
Scanning the sky for falling stars—
there goes one! and there another!
Persistent trains, bright fireballs—
in the great immensity
a crescent moon crosses to Jupiter,
and snatches of conversation fly up
more intimate now
we are hidden in darkness
and can express what
we might not say otherwise.
At every instant we are
what we have been and will be,
our forebears who live on in us
we remember, we resemble.
Everything in the world is mysterious
formed of tenuous substances
evanescence and oblivion
the equivocal element of time.
With a stone I dug up a clod of dirt
a little farther away I laid it down silently
and under my breath I whispered
“I have changed the earth.”
The deed was minimal, the words exact,
and I needed a lifetime to say them.