poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sun on Snow

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First the Fan

First the fan of baseball fields, then the blotchy geometries of farms in winter,
then the clouds the clouds and only the clouds, this one so thick
it’s all there is to see/ the cloud and the wing
with it’s blue triangle fin spearing out at the sky/ bearing us somehow home
to the urban mist of New York in winter.

You will go to Maine and I will wake up Christmas morning alone/ until
we meet halfway/ in the in-between
where the Connecticut River splits Vermont from New Hampshire.
This is a small plane and I can’t tell if we’re still over Indiana
or maybe Cleveland/ the captain makes an announcement and we squint
through endless space of sky and clouds and pretend
to make something out. Cleveland—a city we drive though sometimes—
Buffalo, the captain says now, Buffalo. Thirty-five to forty minutes from JFK.
We found a little bit of smooth air

it may get a little bit rougher, he says. Earlier he used the phrase bumpy air.
You point me to a footnote in your book. Representation’s a good word
too, you say. We are too close to each other to write poetry and read theory
Sprung, the footnote says
means uprising, in German
right? Rising up through the cracks/ I like the cracks/ I say.
Then I point down to Buffalo

where there’s snow so white we can see it shining up through the clouds
in oblong seeming-hallucinations. Snow. You say. // Sprung.// Snow in the cracks.
Snow in the rising.

Dreaming of a white Christmas./ Glad we are not going to cold
Buffalo—another city we’ve driven through, but it never stopped us.
The stewardess is old, too old for this job. Her face is funny—
too puffy and too saggy at the same time. I want to hold her
in my arms and make her young again. Young and traveling
everywhere—boasting to her friends about how much fun her job is. Now
she looks like some sort of counter-advertisement
proclaiming the unhealthy effects of too much air travel. Now someone’s kid

screams. Someone always brings a screaming kid. But it’s okay
because now we’re out of that cloud and I can see the snowy terrain
clearly. It’s no longer Buffalo. Now it’s something mountainous and curving.
White and black and gray/ and straight lines that are roads
and white lines of cut-down trees
through the mountains so people can ski in lines.

The mountains look like curvy ladies laying down beside each other
Lay lady lay, I can imagine Bob Dylan singing to them
and they sigh and roll over and re-arrange themselves when no one is looking.
And the wing seems proud now, glinting sun like the arm of a ringmaster
covered in rhinestones: behold! Behold! This land is your land
layered and perfect/ rivers and roads and farms and fans
things start to come into familiar focus again
and I remember how excited I was as a child
to get in the plane and press my face to the window/ when I believed
that the outlines of the farms were the outlines of the states
and I could see so much America

that’s how high I thought we were—that the divisions were finally revealing themselves.
There was no such thing as representation
just lines that marked out states/ clear as day on the land
I can still understand my reasoning—from here, now, a frozen lake
looks like Arkansas. I also understood clouds differently
as a child I thought we flew through chimney smoke
and only god could be up in the heaven clouds.

Faintly, I can see houses again, rows of roofs
so close and small/ I could scrape them from the window
and paste a few like microchips on my fingernails.
Soon I’ll be able to pick things out again
I think I can see the Connecticut River now
with it’s body so like a snake/ it slides up and down/ all the way under
us and out to the horizon rainbow/ where there are recognizable landscapes.
Long Island herself—a careful fish
with the city in her eye/ looking at that river, that snake
that wants to bite her head off/ but can’t seem to fit it’s mouth around
the tall buildings and all of the trains. Wake up
the city is spellbound, I tell you
look at the pollution/ like some sort of brown power
the city collects around herself. We’re here. Circling over water
so low the birds
chatter at us/ they watch and fly
as we swirl and we touch down.