Neruda’s Tasks

Like above and below, my duties ached
to converge.   One was to climb all the way
down to the bottom of things 
to cry with my kind in joy and pain,
gasp with them at the edible seed of the moon,
the sun’s tender, terrible bread,
suffer on the world’s hot, dirty floor.

The other was to raise that plain up level with the cool mountains.
Their peaks would then be just a few feet high,
like European royalty, their shadows no heavier than anyone’s,
and the field boiling over with flowers
would be their friend, not a faraway neighbor
bowing to their altitude but someone to greet each day
and spend time with, a companion.

They would drink coffee together and recall
the dread pressure of ice, the vertical
screams of volcanoes, the hurt time has seen,
and savor knowing how good it is to sit quiet
watching the day ripen, good to rest in the afternoon,
good to sit up all night talking, amazingly, despite
all craziness amazingly still here.

© 2018 Evan Fowler