AN ATMOSPHERE OF ISABEL
If childhood was a plump freckled mess—
your head a bowling ball of grief, lonely
in the library, checked-out from under
the vacant watch of snoring parents—then
these days have the sheen of bright swims
in sky-blue rippling tarns. From there to here
some Houdini act, and how? Every family:
part straitjacket, part oxygen tent.
Standing in the kitchen making abstract
risotto, warm pastry in the icing
of your fancy panties, oblique attack
of Indonesian salmon upstream in
the humming oven, you clean as you go.
The staccato mutter of chopping block
suggests progress. Chicken soups, chocolate chips
the shtetl resumé you’ve earned. We go
forwards backwards: inside-out equation
yielding ripe atmosphere of Isabel.
From soupy sea to cracking spire, this air
makes engines purr. Turn over, purr some more.
At night, in the windswept Karakoram
of your dreams, you spot a little kinkajou,
a honey bear of jungle out of place
in frosted mountain heights—yet it’s become
a balls-out big wall climber, facing
Rakaposhi, knowing all the ropes
and routes, unafraid of weather, its life-
support system ticking in its treasured chest.