We would stand on the lawn looking up
like the opening scene of an alien show
We looked strange, I knew,
but I couldn’t help wondering where
the neighbors were—
how could they ignore this?
As other-worldly as an alien
invasion or a Raphael,
as fleeting as childhood
a gift fit for gods
but we live close enough to peek
to taste the spilled ambrosia
to see the colors altered
by an altered sky.
Why would we go past this,
go beyond—to what?
We don’t believe in a beyond-truth or
a beyond-goodness, but past
doesn’t always mean surpassed:
maybe we’ve just missed our turn?
Maybe if we stand on the lawn,
they’ll notice us, and no one
will overshoot their destination
or at least they can make a u-turn
at the end of the street,
pull over before
they give up and deem beauty medieval,
before they decide we’re too wise for thunder gods
and roses. I used to walk past
them, there at the front of the grocery store
where penitent and forgetful men can buy
before they get to the chips and soda
I used not to notice;
they’re not advertised, after all, to women.
We’re meant to walk past,
Distracted by children and grocery lists,
beautiful bursting blossoms
invisible to us
(except for office parties,
customs of social investment,
when we walk into a separate place
with petty cash
and make petty choices
for the requisite office acknowledgements).
We manage to see
even when it surrounds us.
But if you stop to touch or smell,
you'll find roses
are soft like silk
and hold memory like picture books,
like the soft folds of my grandmother’s face.
How did we ever start with stone and papyrus,
when the touch of a rose petal holds
more memory and allusion
than a library filled with coded paper,
when it must have been that way
in Egypt, too?
But we’ve gone beyond beauty. Why?
Because we’ve found something better?
We in this century have realized that dancing in the rain,
leaning over to sniff the rose,
touching the shiny flow of silk
and satin in the fabric store,
the use of exclamation marks!
Sensory stimulations are childish,
And the worst thing in this post-modern world
is a child.