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08.30.07
From Wave Offering
“You shall count … from the day that you brought the omer as a wave offering.”
—Leviticus 23:15

I.

Lovingkindness of Lovingkindness

Today is day one of the Omer
Beginning is an opening
First day of no rain
hills are green and if you listen beyond
what is said there is an undernetting vast and consequential as skin
Simply invisible in that you reside within yourself
Devotion being to rise to the small voice
Devotion of dovecot to dove
Coat to shins, measuring that which most surprises
That if you simply reside what changes is magnified least of all by your effort
So ceasing to hold onto walking by, retrieving a message from a well 
Dropping that uttered complex abandonment in a series of contorted 
communications to ask, if you arrive 
what is given is beyond consciousness 
I require no corporeal answer 
And yet you, companion, standing nearer 
saying nothing from across a shivered town 
can be held as easily as a reflection of the moon 
There are no fools carrying about buckets of water 
to do so, only children of remembering 
Yet to cull, to apply, to winnow is how I see the soul approaching 
A window is naught but the imaginative dross of worried snow which fails to fall
And failing fall, but falling ahead of oneself is belief in form as promise 

 

2.

Sentence of Lovingkindness

i.

Today is two days of the Omer
How many permutations, left arm of love 
Be you inside a citadel of doubt? 
Time is otherwise here 
not to destroy the toy of the child in sleep 
I would go more easily otherwise, if I were not to incite myself to causality 
Nevermind the kingdom I am entering must be blameless 
at the same time not to be formless 
The aspect of love which is held on every 
side by a scaffolding so as not to collapse 
from weight of love 
If I give here this sheaf there will be another 
also which is not mine, but moves through my hands as an offering 
A day behaves differently when one mustn’t rise 
In a moment love will enter this room 
and interrupt the written form of love 
 

ii.

What was perfected today, a series of communications 
made by handheld devices to clarify our positions in space 
Another waited for, missed, and therefore dependant upon a link to hearsay 
We were perfected by walking between the precipitation which did not fall 
all the while imagining gratefully striding with nothing falling 

How to be present for every moment of their childhood 
If I could begin to describe time as ripening perhaps I would not grieve 
my failing to do so, and perhaps I would not mourn the loss of the infant 
in the midst of rejoicing the child 
Perhaps I would not miss the alacrity which escapes me 
and is replaced with a steady perseverance 

There is no end to the emanation of utterance, even if it is solely internal 
and thus the fear to admit where we abandon ourselves 
To do so is impossible and yet on the surface you gaze into an iris or a gutter 
the sheen of which is forgotten about your smile, and vanish 
 

iii.

Ardor is a form of putting a child to bed
in restraint from all that ails you I place my hand 
Below the scattering of acts is a premise as seemingly solid 
as the "would" upon which my hand now rests 
You might say nothing is solid 
and yet as you said this you would also be standing 
upon some surface which held you 
Some depth which cradles you, continuously moving, requires rigor of devotion 
Measure of a sheaf 
What is this gesture of a hand, allowed to drop fanlike 
or fasten to your gaze 
Between his two lifted palms he resides 
How does number describe age? 
When I return in a day, will they still be boys? 

 

3

Compassion of Lovingkindness

i.

Today is day three of the Omer

Once you arrive what have you arrived at?   Whose insistence?

To spend an hour with you and be otherwise.   Not our dress or bar codes or ready divulging from matter into antimatter—to hinge

Not to pack and repack a clause each claustrophobic

remark the weight of utterance

If I do not like any of the books I have brought along they make poor companions
 

iv.

You may prefer not to see this hidden quality of rising
as if you were held vertically entirely by virtue of anatomy 
As if bones could be said to carry, as if musculature were to encircle 
that principle and cleave to something unnameable 
This is not to deny any miracle of the body 
but to remember the animating principles which have not yet been explained 
You could describe the moment that breath was breathed 
into the body, but could you describe the one whose breath was given? 

 

7

Presence of Lovingkindness

If you consider beckoning as much a purpose as an action 
you have moved further into the principle so that the equation 
is now balanced on the side of arrival 
And you are standing with bare feet within a question 
Your lifted arms are banners 
Your hands are instruments of dusk

If you doubt this, will you doubt the graciousness implied in orchard 
or the intent of the crowned heads of the four- and six-year-old boys? 
that what they will grow to encompass isn’t anything short of dominion 
And if you do not guard your own coming and going 
in this manner then who can possibly be said to rule your consciousness? 
Simple as pressing eyes closed for emphasis 
or bearing a key because you have chosen to carry

Be it a memory of verses worn about the waist 
lifted to encircle the head or bound about the wrists 
in each instance you may remember the impediments 
or you may remember a story which changes 
not the impediments but the way you look through an object 
or a circumstance until you are somewhat transparent 

Laynie Browne is the author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her most recent books include You Envelop Me (Omnidawn, 2017), P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel, 2015), and Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press, 2015). Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship; the National Poetry Series Award (2007) for her collection The Scented Fox, selected by Alice Notley; and the Contemporary Poetry Series Award (2005) for her collection Drawing of a Swan Before Memory. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Catalan. She co-edited I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues Press, 2012) and is currently editing an anthology of original essays on the Poet’s Novel. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.