Page 14


POETRY I BY JAN SEALE GRAPHING THE NATIONAL MOOD The space above begs, pleads us to look, study the sky of the picture, see available space above the narrow temples: black statistical peaks of the surveyed neglect, the counted crimes, drunk drivers, persistent cancer, homeless children, those killed in all wars in a given century, those killed in the first seven years of a new century. That skyline flails a hand like an answering child, grins the comedy of a face viewed upside down or the lover’s fleshy visage in missionary position, makes a more interesting sunset behind mountains, calls out the infinite ribbon of friendships, rising bread, birds arranged on a wire, the truth of daylight regardless of the news or the numbers. It’s the percentage of women not assaulted, the men not perpetrating, the evenings completed, days in the laboratory stepping backward or forward, the greening of shoots in the burnout zone, the child’s hand patting the elder’s shoulder, colors all deriving from the earth, our eyes rehearsing them to send to the heart’s open door. For now, what else can we do but be faithful to the negative of peace that fills the blank? knowing it sprouts audacious through the clouds, is not a void but an entity, a raft of possibility, straining upward out of the sad majority, containing the higher news of the day, yearning to go off the charts. PROOF Two miles north of the border in a canal, he was found halfway under water. The thing was, he wasn’t dead from the shotgun blast to the back of his head. “Several inches wide,” said the sheriff, “and twenty hours old, according to what the man told that the sun was going down when they drove him out from town He actually talked told the time and his name admitted he had just crossed. They could not claim he was an overstay, or detainee, oh, he was wet all right, but still, documented: “Man Thought Dead Is Actually Alive” so the headline read JAN SEALE is a writer, teacher, and longtime resident of the Rio Grande Valley. Her latest book is The Wonder Is: New and Selected Poems Naomi Shihab Nye 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 30, 2007 6