for joe

The moveable surface of water is

Glass, not holding its plane.

Only some of what is below, shows.

Watching Atlantic shallows

We guess at what moving shadows mean.


Without the salt, water moves its hips,

Dodges the stream rocks,

And protects, beneath molten waves,

Even shyer ghosts.

We guess at where lines should land.


But, seen in the instant when water is

Broken and shadow becomes form,

Suddenly the inchoate becomes detail.

Far off, missed strike, or held in hand,

This clarity is glass-lens bright and too temporary.


Seen in your forms, glass is

At once, a common thing and a little miracle.

As on the water, light holds and then

Releases us to more solid things.

Beyond what bottle is something known?


Breathing changes in the midst of glass boxes and bottles

A wrong gesture could change the universe.

Just as time slows when we slip through forest light,

Even a small misstep, this night, might end

Our chance, of receiving grace.


The made world tries to reflect

What merely happens on water or in plain air.

Objects are opaque unless we imagine them like glass.

Others can scoff at our week magic, but when the

Bright instant occurs the scrim of false imitation falls away.


Only once, in spring when everything was perfect,

Did we find some hours when these mysteries dissolved.

Glass was transparent and every invitation

Made its connection. Impossible? Yes, but there we were.

Reaching for many silvered jewels, watching our thumbs bleed.