Upon Returning from a Leave of Absence

Diana Senechal

Though each word breaks into
panic, and touching hands recoil
like springs, and none of us can claim
a thing, and the dear name,


falling from our lips, meets the soil,
this has nothing to do
with hunger. Watch the rain:
it seeps through flimsy fingers, yet


stays where the earth has its fist
clenched. Wherever rain is missed,
fists are tougher. Nature in debt
makes one wealthy. Explain


why the homeless old man,
finding a shanty, heats it more
than we our fireplaces, why
the cactus holds water. Try


to build, to hold something that you're
used to wasting. You can,
if you give up all hope,
head brutally for the dry air,


learn how to cup your hands tight,
learn how to listen for light,
and return to view your despair
under a microscope.