Ground Sense

by Rodney Jones

Because I have known many women
Who are dead, I try to think of fields
As holy places. Whether we plow them

Or let them to weeds and sunlight,
Those are the best places for grief,
If only that they perform the peace

We come to, the feeling without fingers,
The hearing without ears, the seeing
Without eyes. Isn’t heaven just this

Unbearable presence under leaves?
I had thought so. I had believed
At times in a meadow and at other

Times in a wood where we’d emerge
No longer ourselves, but reduced
To many small things that we could

Not presume to know, except as my
Friend’s wife begins to disappear,
He feels no solvent in all the earth,

And me, far off, still amateur at grief.
Walking the creek behind the house,
I cross to the old homeplace, find

A scattering of chimney rocks, the
Seeds my grandmother watered, the
Human lifetime of middle-aged trees.

Rodney Jones from Salvation Blues (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), reprinted by permission from author.