april snow

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Clouds
Jared Carter
I would like to rise within one
as though unbound –
Bodiless, but not withdrawn from
the endless round

Of circumambient winds. I would
be vaporous, yet
Show textures clear, as in driftwood
or empty net.

My shadow, far below, would seem
content to go
Across the green fields like a dream
of April snow.

geodes

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Geodes
Jared Carter

They are useless, there is nothing
to be done with them, no reason, only

the finding: letting myself down holding
to ironwood and the dry bristle of roots

into the creekbed, into clear water shelved
below the outcroppings, where crawdads spurt

through silt; clawing them out of clay, scrubbing
away the sand, setting them in a shaft of light

to dry. Sweat clings in the cliff’s downdraft.
I take each one up like a safecracker listening

for the lapse within, the moment crystal turns
on crystal. It is all waiting there in darkness.

I want to know only that things gather themselves
with great patience, that they do this forever.

 

work, for the night is coming

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Work for the Night is Coming
Jared Carter

On the road out of town past the old quarry
I watched a light rain darkening the ledges
blocked and carded by the drill’s bit

twenty years back. Within those stiff lines,
places half-stained with damp, the rock face
opened to a deeper grain – the probable drift

of the entire ridge outlined for a moment
by the rain’s discoloring. Then all turned dim –
grass holding to the seams, redbud scattered

across the cliff, dark pool of water
rimmed with broken stones, where rain, now
falling steadily, left no lasting patterns.

improvisation

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Improvisation
Jared Carter

To improvise, first let your fingers stray
across the keys like travelers in snow:
each time you start, expect to lose your way.

You’ll find no staff to lean on, none to play
among the drifts the wind has left in rows.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray

beyond the path. Give up the need to say
which way is right, or what the dark stones show;
each time you start, expect to lose your way.

And what the stillness keeps, do not betray;
the one who listens is the one who knows.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray;

out over emptiness is where things weigh
the least. Go there, believe a current flows
each time you start: expect to lose your way

Risk is the pilgrimage that cannot stay;
the keys grow silent in their smooth repose.
To improvise, first let your fingers stray.
Each time you start, expect to lose your way.

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash