for Tim and Judy
He spoke of the ocean of suffering,
an ocean of cars and hospitals,
burnt toast, frozen pipes,
old skin, cancer, caskets,
and birth—how we are born
of our own necessities,
how we must swim these waters
in our own wakes.
This morning at dawn
wild cranberries jeweled the snow;
bitumen birds stalked the stems.
It is hard to understand how
such might buoy your daughter
across islandless straits,
how spare us our eternal dog paddle—
but it always works; benefaction
coming only from what is:
washing a cup, putting on shoes,
watching snow drift down
into the endless lake.