He sat in the blue chair, I sat in the green chair.
Our knees were almost touching, a twinkle in his eye
borne of having seen the unseeable, reunited with lovers
once luminous, now diminished by disease,
of having learned the languages of dogs and horses
and the land and sky that give us the poems
and take them back into rivers, return them as rain,
as death, as spring, and as friendship.
“There are surprises,” he said, then spoke
of the Trickster whose reputation rests unfairly
on wreaking havoc, but who comes, too, as invitation
and opening our daylit imaginations couldn’t conjure.
The Trickster takes the train and wears a fedora,
scours the wide-open countryside, ravished hearts,
the unlikeliest of abandoned sites breathing dark life
into old places we long ago surrendered.
When he said, “There are surprises,” I saw a door,
the light at the horizon between frame and floor,
heard a hint of the party in the room that is the world
on the other side of knee-to-knee on the second floor,
a party of two, a span of seven decades
holding us together like the glue beyond
what we can measure.
So naturally, I nodded and said: Yes, surprises.
The Trickster’s private car speeding through the blindspot
towards us until his hand is reaching towards mine
and I’m grabbing hold, sliding onto a leather bench seat
by the window, smart enough not to ask for answers–
this train has no time and no tables–
clambering onto the conductors’ shoulders, dangling
legs over ledges, raising arms to catch what comes
when balance is lost and surprises are slow,
when the hard-won poet who has softened says
to her who sees herself as young, sitting in the kitchen
living the questions of the room, the wheels, the unknowable
yes: “There are surprises.” Watch for the Trickster. Just wait.
~ for Doug Anderson