John Brighenti CC
Between Steps in Bozeman
The hotel parking lot is a stark, black plane
Efficient industrial buildings look down on it, stone-faced
The big sky looks down also, and on my morning debut
I am referring to the “big sky,” so treasured and adored
It manifests its true big self today
High above the fray
Bigger than me
Bigger than any of us
Tolerant, on this blessed 74-degree day
Other days, cold and biting
Like the cuts we inflict on each other
While insisting valiantly that we are right
Instead, we are gusting
We are whipping up a fury of fight-or-flight
Hotel lobby—take a step
Concrete swale—another step
In the space between steps
Into the sky above us?
Into the pause between the footfalls?
That calm is gone now, shattered
No evidence remains
Recriminations, confusion, umbrage and self-defense
Like a wild herd
These emotions effortlessly jump the rickety fence of civility
They land and don’t look back
I do look back, then up, at the unblinking big sky...
Another faltering step
When I Align the Doors and Windows Exactly So
When the windows and doors of my house are aligned exactly so
And the wind blows from the west
I hear it whistle and thrum upstairs
Disembodied yet indomitable
With no specific point of origin, constantly seeking its path
It plucks me the way a finger plucks a guitar string
Is this wind the intonation of God’s voice?
Is it the penetrating manifestation of ineffability?
I remember being lulled into this same daydream-like state of mind long ago in church
Listening to the pastor’s lilting voice
His actual words were not important
The intensity of that experience came from his unflinching belief
The certainty of his understanding was like the wind
Unstoppable, demanding, hypnotizing
I wanted to yield to his words, to say, “Yes, you are right”
I wanted to fall into the grace and forgiveness of his sermon
It would have been so easy
It would have absolved me of any responsibility
I wavered then
I’m still wavering to this day
Why would I need someone else’s understanding to be my compass?
I have my own passage, flawed as it may be
I listen to the wind’s exhortation
I write and rewrite my own sermon
I align the doors and windows of my frail, short-lived house exactly so
I let my voice slide, whisper and howl through the world
The voices in the wind want to be heard
Lee Hudspeth is a poet and nonfiction author living in Southern California. His debut, full-length poetry book Incandescent Visions was self-published in 2019. His haiku have appeared in Cold Moon Journal, Poetry Pea Journal, The Heron’s Nest, Akitsu Quarterly, Failed Haiku, Presence, Fireflies’ Light, Haiku Journal, and Stardust Haiku. He is currently working on a second poetry book. He tweets @LeeHuds and his author page is https://leehudspeth.com.
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