Reading Henry Fowler's "Modern English Usage" in Salt Lake City in November

Written by  Natasha Sajé

-- published in Bend

You note the one "r" in iridescent,
from the Greek, iris, rainbow, not the Latin,
irrideo, to laugh, and I smile

to think of your idiosyncrasy,
scrupulous care in life as well as work.
Today light streams in, the bright surprise

of it risible, as amazing to me
as sagebrush and pinons. First Western fall,
felicitous, pumpkin custard sending

clove into the air as the cats quibble
over the patch of hottest sun. Gone:
Old house, old roads, old friends. Gone as well

that blue hour when solitary
lovers in cafés console themselves.
That city's farther than it's ever been,

differs toto caelo, by the whole sky,
from these nights of shooting stars
and sunny days that beam across the floor

like lace. If you were here, Henry,
you'd advise exactitude, tell me to love
the narrow difference between "broad"

and "wide": a distance that separates
the limits, an amplitude of what
connects them. Some words refuse wide,

admit broad: blade, spearhead, daylight.
And some allow them both: A wide door
open to miles of snowy peaks. The view

from where I am is wide and broad, and if
I lose myself in its expanse, will mountains
rein me in, or clouds as volatile as grace?

Additional Info

  • Location: 3105 Teton Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah