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Robert Bensen

Such a Beautiful Day

We were at a picnic table my daughter and I
            people kept coming and going along a clear complexioned
windowless wall of red brick angling off to the horizon
            in the perfectly cloudless blue of the afterlife
we all watched a small dark wisp coming hill after hill and fast
            a smokey black cloud shaped like a double-edged Schick
injector razor blade slicing toward us I raised my arm
            and waved this all happened supernaturally fast the flight
of this razor-black cloud over the field the green

of the afterlife the blade of cloud
            a row of windows eaten in as if by acids
nibbled wheels windows a hood a school bus
            yes a school bus black and wispy above our heads
withered soon tugged apart by the small winds
            that played and often do on such a beautiful day


Art Works
              for Sarah Bates and her “Honoring Circle” installations

Helpless in the face of all faces
            how we are alone in the world still
written in each thumb-trace in the faces of mortal clay
            arrayed around the walls and railings
of the room that holds us and our possibility of wonder
            at this circle Sarah made of everything she’s gathered
from the sea and her ancestral lands and those of exile—

            A shop was built downtown over a spring and a little creek
and by the source were found buried the ancient bones
            of a man and with him a pipe and shards of clay
that came from this embankment above the Susquehanna
            clay that made the brick that made the shop that hides the creek
that flows through pipe that’s made with clay that made the pipe they dug
            beside the man they found not long ago

—If  spirit lives in everything and everything in spirit
            then the young woman with a virus raging in the head
who has fallen asleep beside Sara's honoring circle while the rest write
            may have dreamed herself asleep one pleasant day
beside a pretty little creek above a bluff
            in the warmth of a complicated sun an agitated sun
flaring with seeds and pods and leaves and shells and petals
            a composed sun from whose center the crossed roads carry
what they have always carried down their shining paths
            until the red sun of evening lies in ribbons on her face
and wakes her and she finds what she almost recalled
            this wafer this disk of gifts on the floor she'll have
to walk around to leave wondering what on earth to say she saw in it