Geoffrey G. O'Brien

To Be out of Sweden And

to know how Sweden is, to see leaves
change color without appropriate sound,
to go to work, a finger in the mouth of the day,
to think of how the leaves look on workdays
in Sweden when the sun allows them
to approach an unrevealed maximum, to look
like something other than motion or rest
still striven for, to relocate in place
to track the meaningless blaze of leaves changing color
in Sweden without appropriate sound, to think
all color the immediate memory of black,
to think of Sweden as unable to be tried
from its past, where the gate stood, the thought lived,
to live days without consequence
in which leaves retreat to further visibility
during the hours of work, days not just
for recruits or the calling in of students, days
that fall in anticipation of the past, today
and the others, released from standard duty,
to be underneath their sky, adjective
which describes the world, to be in the Sweden
of that world, in the sun-changed leaves of that Sweden
during the hours of work, to think, each time
a new thing is seen, each thing seen
is second of three, fragments of a great unconfession,
to put off confessing, to count the gold auras
around bushes on cliffs by the sea while others work,
to see the sun across these flatdeep surfaces,
to say of leaves they represent everything
except themselves, the total obstinate trait,
to call work the opera of that trait,
to hear an absence of jets overhead
with obligations to other destinations
unable to be tried, to go to work again
shining a diffidence at the great group,
the I-they-we, to run from the dead
into evening, to know how Sweden is,
where spring must end but summer must not begin,
these warm cool days joining up,
these and other collaborations.