Metaphysics is a Dead Field
by Emily Lawson
But in the conventional world, light tilts in. I stop to make a shadow of a hand--
because today the birds are sounding out so furiously; because earlier I passed
a small child singing happy birthday, happy birthday…
Driving west, you saw a vision of your late father in the Book Cliffs.
He looked out from a high ridge over you, the fading hills.
That day I sat on the porch after the guests left, holding a cold glass to my temple.
I closed my eyes against the sun, watched it’s imprints. Now it is raining softly.
What do we remember from life? Almost nothing. Not this.
Not the way the evening cliffs are halved by sun. You thought to scramble up
the rocks to find him, but kept driving. Wondered if you missed your chance.
I felt his presence so strongly in the world then. I was certain that he was, and that he knew me.
Now water shakes over twigs and shingles. That gentle noise. I am saying,
I’ll still love you after I’m dead. I mean this--
I’ll find a way. How a life could float by, in wait. Hard listening, bucking hydrangeas,
a sudden spatter of gray, then clearing. I’m asking it all to surprise me--no--
asking myself to be surprised. Your red truck, small as a toy from that height.
How the soft heavy bees stay afloat like that, even wet.
Emily Lawson is a former Poe/Faulkner Fellow in poetry at the University of Virginia, where she taught poetry and served as Editor for Meridian. She attended Hampshire College, and is entering a PhD program in philosophy at the University of British Columbia. Her poems and lyric essays appear in Sixth Finch, Indiana Review, Waxwing, Thrush, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.