Galway Kinnell wrote that there was Still Time,*

and I memorized his lines, those birds, the cadence

of hands opening, my own throat closing


as I fought his premise. Was there still time?

Time to yet rattle the world? Or had I run out

of those elusive opportunities, corralled by lines


in old journals, scribbled on the backs of notepads

or inscribed by propriety itself, words like fences

inside and out, words that danced away


before I could grab them, twist them

into a lifeline, one I could hang onto and swing

swing across roiling chasms churning life into


white-water leading to waterfall, the unexpected

still pool where rocks carved a moment and

green water held my unrecognizable reflection


alongside lost years’ leaves, browned

and curled beyond pressing. But still I want

to stir it up, even if only to stamp myself


upon the dust, wet feet and damp palms

pressing patterns on the soil even though

I know that all too soon an indifferent wind will


swirl away the scrawls, dust devils spinning

over the pasture where my voice echoes

the rattling spiel of the giant Flicker hammering


on the dying sycamore, bleached bones now

against the sky, the two of us still trying

even as limbs weaken, to make our mark.


*The Still Time, by Galway Kinnell