Any Old Thing
Go inside a stone.
____”Stone” Charles Simic
The eccentric movements of hummingbirds:
sometimes they slide to the side
like kites. Who is holding their invisible strings?
And what does the ec in eccentric, mean?
Out of the center.
Any old thing, they said, that you want to be.
So open, that, it was closed. And I
was ignorant as a dust mite, too.
Never became. Not much. Part of the void.
Once upon a time: there was a frog.
Twice. That I’ve seen, and on the screen.
Once of the window, once of the door.
Something I’d never seen before.
Like the hummingbird. Near enough to stare
At his reflections in my glasses.
How could I have lived seventy years
before that face-to-face.
When I saw “go inside a stone” I thought
someone should have told me that
when I was ten. And imagined crystalline,
almost translucent gravel, river-comforted.
An inch. Maybe inch and a half.
It was probably quartz.
One can not go inside a stone. I might
drill a hole. Lick up, swallow crystal dust.
Take it into me. Would that clarify
Life for the stone? Answer its questions.
If it has questions. What’s the weather like?
I’d like to think inside the stone is cooler.
Like it’s holding water-chill. And is it smooth
inside, or would it slice along the planes
where a hammer might someday shatter it?
Within, if my eyes could open, would I see?
Would the rose blood of my fingers, holding
it and me, transform the light? Would I see
what I could have been if I were new?