The reason you do not clearly understand the time being is that you
think of time only as passing.

              —Dogen (1200–1253)

We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

              —Wallace Stevens, “Man Carrying Thing”

Winter Solstice—the sun
stopped for a moment—
can you feel its light stretching—
as it shrugs off its migration
and turns back north toward the pole?

                    * * *

On this rock, just the right
distance from the nearest star,
sheltered by Jupiter and kept in season
by the steadying moon,
being moves through my body
like clouds, arriving in one shape,
drifting off as another.

I don’t remember being born,
only the great dog
whose fur I clung to
before the first day of school.

Memory accounts
for space, not time.
It records the quality and angle
of light, the keen, metallic scent of wind
through porch screens—the wailing
as it rises—the warmth and texture of air—
the weather and sometimes
whether or not it was a Tuesday,
but never how long it lasted—or
how many years ago—only
how it felt—alone in that moment.
And the sound of waves breaking.

We see time past as Euclidian—moments
of solitude with no date affixed—
long afternoons of childhood in no time at all,
without knowing that
because of the moment—now in memory—
you will always be seven in that place.

Our solitude—being alone
with the one you knew there—
our loneliness—being there
without him.

Two billion seconds of life
now, on a planet only
four and a half billion years
old—and every atom on loan
to it much older than that.
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