Wet Hands in the Sun

John James

Wasp resting in a pool of dew—the world

            is my world—water spouting from the hose.

It darkens on the pavement (or rather,

the pavement darkens). It’s all a matter of seeing.

            There is no order of things. Strawberry plants,

their runners—this crown, this node.

            The word for this is “clone”—a slip or a twig.

Reproduction, as by cutting. A polyp

produced by buds. My daughter, she reaches

            out to touch the ground,

holds her wet hands in the sun, wipes them

            on her sleeve. I am fine with that. I spray

the splayed roots of an oak, the toothed ridges

of its leaves. The I is hardly there. I want

            to see the leaf, its cells. Blood in my hand.

The dogwoods gain their blossoms.


Strawberries and barley wine, winter’s

coming to an end. We cannot think we cannot think,

We can’t say we can’t think. To what extent

solipsism is a truth.
The berries hard, foreboding.

What shows itself

                                    what appears—the innate

vibrancy of things—that moon

that shines is two feet wide. Speech—it names and puts a limit.

The tomato cages “shine.” Verbs with names, verbs with names.

Cloyed with sight, I watch the alders glisten, their branches

Meek and speckled with dew. We no longer understand   

            this unity because we have fallen away from the inceptive

distinction, which has developed historically, and now

                        what we carry around is merely something that—some

time, some place—was once put into circulation.

Then there are the lilacs, smelling of lilac, cloying

to these eyes—beyond a doubt. The chopped

copses glisten. Severed branches bleed their sap.

Clustered, in the summer, their / purple load will hang.