A man plants himself to study a leaf
and feels the wind is filling it with will,
not the voice from the white noise.
The man reads his intentions from
his reflection in the river, cause following
the effect. The man and a net on the goal
and a white ball and a butterfly and
the misguided vein in the neck
and the robotic twist of the wrist and
the cork pops out of the champagne bottle
and the mist is contagious and a mirror
neuron fires and the hot beads on
the cookie sheet like tears on a leaf.
The man begins to sketch what the wind
will do next — a Necker cube,
with its two orientations flipping
on the page but not in the imagination.
The man can barely imagine her face.
He must stare at the cube to make it
flip, the one joy he takes
from the physical world . . .
and playing simple games with money.
He buys a house with her and plans
when to breathe, when to dream, and
when to rein it in, the effect following
the cause. The man advances at work and
a trip by train through Finland and a long
talk with a friend about his daughter’s
education and nearly missing a tree on
the slopes of Tahoe and the all-night vigil
with the merchant marine and the imitation
of the play in the championship game.
He watches the video of his wedding again
and guesses the intentions of his guests
as though he were watching from
the high post of the crows whose
caw, caw, caw, caw confirms
the wind in their throats
is the seat of their existence.
Wind, if there is any greatness.
Wind, if there is any greatness in
this simple game where the brain-damaged
pragmatist makes a face like a man’s,
then let the script be written by
the hijacker who takes over
and is able to transfer mood, a wind
that speaks of when to breathe,
when to dream, and when to rein it in.
The man appears alone in a simulator,
and he decides which version of the woman
he should mimic. A switch flips inside
his brain, and he feels her pained
expression, resulting from the lost child,
the cramping body, the and and and of
events in cascade. His empathy follows;
it follows from her exchange. He guesses
and reverses, free to play within
a set circle of morals where he stands.
He plants himself to study how
the wind shakes the tree to shiver
in its infinite charade.
Image Credit: Road with Cypress and Star or Country Road in Provence by Night, Vincent van Gogh (1890)