Physics Report

It is the end of the lovebug season
here in south Louisiana.
We are taking teflon-wrapped sponges
to our windshields and to the bumpers
of our cars.
In northern New Zealand a mountain top blows.
The ash takes with it a lake.
The water no longer identifiable
or measurable as what it was,
a deep blue bowl in thin air.
I know more than nothing about
Lorenz’s initial condition effect
on weather systems theory.
I know more than nothing about
energy field physics,
but I like the idea of poets calibrating
the energy in the lines of what they make
and scientists getting out their calipers
to measure the fat content in images.
In Miss Dixie Wynn’s sixth hour class just last week
the testosterone levels, she says, were unchartable.
It was as if some Cajun blonde Medusa had turned
this boy-filled class to charged stone.
Empirically speaking, three weeks after
the beginning of the fall term
Elizabeth Broussard’s schedule changed.
Ben Bernard wrote an essay
on a person who most influenced him
and he wrote about his uncle
he works with.
He said his uncle was teaching him a trade.
That it was more than learning how to be a cabinet maker.
It was about how to smooth surfaces
and how to make angles fit.
It was about how to make things
strong so that no one ever noticed
how strong a thing was.
It was about dovetails and miter boxes.
And then he said it was, too,
about how his uncle was teaching him
how to be a good father and a good husband,
and he didn’t know where that last thing came from
and he wondered what connections, if any,
all that had to do with what Miss Dixie had been saying
one day about something that sounded foreign to him
that you couldn’t do when you write,
and then something about writing
having to be about you and having to be true
and it seemed to him that this line in his essay
about a father and husband was both of these things
and besides that he didn’t now why
he kept seeing Elizabeth about to turn
around in his writing-log entries.
Her long blonde hair moving.
Her turning her face to him.
Her eyes the color of deep mountain lake water.
Him, some father, some husband
swimming in them.
Just before he closes his eyes for the last time Hokusai
releases thirty-six variations of each of his Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.
This morning at the edge of the pine grove
near the emperor’s retreat the mist barely touches
the tops of the boulders in the garden.
The caretaker is raking the gravel.
The imperial embroiderers are taking notes
on the pinks in the peonies blooming.
A hummingbird near the rim of the Atchafalaya Basin
is making its way to the red mallows,
the subscription in its wings,
Kyoto, Kyoto, Kyoto

the hurried aria its heart sings

yokuboo, yokuboo, yokuboo


Darrell Bourque
Burnt Water Suite
San Antonio, TX: Wings Press, 1999
Used by permission of the poet.