Without elevations, hurricanes, or
earthquakes, without geological alarms,
we learn to count the angles
in the sky and to admire four-barrel carburetors
in the muscle cars that combine with roadside
trees in the six-pack dark of Saturday.
It's not that something has to happen.
A man writes a letter to himself
and excludes the absolute: he is four seasons,
paths in third-growth woods, nature that is endlessly familiar.
He is a silo: he stores, he feeds.
No horsemen raging down the mountains
flying banners, no vipers, just this and that
that could be anywhere but happens to be here.
The children grow up calm: they learn
about psychotic tantrums like tornados.
They plan. There is time, and more time
and more time after that to learn to love
the mild gifts – these apple trees, these
sparrows – in this marriage with a woman
who knows you, but will not kiss you back.
- From Midwestern Poetics by Charles Baxter