Pattern Language

—Walking through town with Plato

We take the sidewalk a step at a time;

shards of its exposed aggregate form archipelagos,
and overhead, Jesus in a cloud, or is it Lao Tzu
explaining Is without a word

Deep clefts in the bark of a tree we pass
define Appalachian humps. I saw Scranton
strewn along a gully on the lichen side

of the fat trunk of a sugar maple when I glanced

A net of angst chokes a birch in the side yard
of a small house, but it’s just Bittersweet being a garrote
—its hot orange berries are incendiary cherries,
its network of vines, untamed thought

A wall of desiccated siding, its south face
so in need of paint some of it is dust,
some parched raised grain, is the surface of Mars 
What’s left of its spent red pigment
is the feel of utter space and rust

Hairline cracks in river ice in the dam pond
are rifts of splintered glass silvered on one side
full of mere reflections falling to the sea

A crow measures distance between
gutter pebbles with her beak
aligning as if she were a smart array of atoms
laying out the footings of a house or universe

—patterns in her brain
must be the forms she seeks

Jim Culleny