This Only Place
This easy weightlessness along the earth I owe
to having heard the heron’s wings the moment
it alighted then decided otherwise and lifted off.
Of what’s behind a revelation can a mind conceive?
Ankle deep I stand inside a mountain stream,
content this only place may be the widest view I’m given.
Like the light that teems to touch along the trunk
bent out above the morning cove, I trust
my imperfections make a story just as true.
How can we know that what we know is
not just smoke above a neighbor’s ridge
and gone on wind no trembling tree can hold?
Maybe I’m prodigal and don’t yet know my fortune’s
squandered. I choose a mulberry the birds have not
yet found. Its stain I hide, I hold, against my palm.
Jeff Hardin is the author of five collections of poetry: Fall Sanctuary (Nicholas Roerich Prize); Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press Book Award); Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Prize); Small Revolution; and No Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize). The New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN.