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POETRY Mother In cobalt and gold light on a hot Dry day on a metaphysical slope Pitched toward an Umbrian town Below, a seven-hundred-year-old Olive tree exhales from Her silver-green leaves calm breath And nearby two brown horses with Black manes, side by side and facing Opposite poles of history, Answer her With patient blowing from time To time, as with their long tails they Flick ever-present flies from Each other’s heads. The olive tree’s splayed wide Gray trunk half Curves to make a living Hollow like A pelvis, so even though I am big, I will Myself to be small, inside it I curl myself and wait a moment, I still myself and a phylogeny of feeling Rushes, evolving through me, Then I stand up out of the tree onto The path of dust And dried horse turds and yet again I am born…. Now the hands Of the horses’ thoughts will take The hands of my thoughts and those Of the tree’s thoughts and together Will be still on this Path of our scarred coevolution, In blue-gold light of a moment Through which we are Passing without moving The tree slowly, the horses quickly. I with awareness of how quickly. Reginald Gibbons has published six books of poems. His seventh, It’s Time, which will contain these poems, will be published in October by LSU Press. He was born and raised in Houston and now lives near Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois, where he teaches at Northwestern University. Having also lived on both east and west coasts, he has completed the coastal possibilities of the United States. His novel Sweetbitter will be reprinted by LSU in early 2003. Naomi Shihab Nye Philosophy For my stepson, S.S. C. “By affect I understand affections of the body, By which the body’s power is increased or Diminished, aided By body sometimes I understand the glittering wild flocks On this shore, singing or invading, by which The city of our love of life is increased or Diminished, brightened or made ugly. By city I understand the shattered-glass-spangled Earth of vacant-lot gardens in which our Love of light is broken on human harm or Sustained on flashing hope. By light I understand This dented fixture on a small porch, Because of which, when it shines, the night can Come no nearer, although when it is burnt out It pours more darkness into darkness. By contradiction I understand my history with you Who came to me then taught me to invite you, Who flew into my night space to bring me What I had not taken, who gave me a generation when I had not thought to give myself to one, who grew into Imagined feeling till it was as granted as a Bird or a bottle or a lamp. By love I understand A longing in the spirit because of which we offer ourselves For the thriving of the other, word for word, glittering Inner world for world. Reginald Gibbons 9/13/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21