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In the Clearing

- for Peter and Lisa

On this bright August day, when wildflowers crown
an Emersonian mountain
and philosophy detaches from experience,

we bow in the clearing Providence has made
for two dear friends.

Magnetized by a solemn apprehension of grace,
we thumb our eyes in witness
and join hand to hand in Hildegard’s swooning air.

The two stand before a great rank of black locust trees
staring at the high canopy
through which a sudden summer breeze blows

its clearing breath.
The minister speaks more than a moment more,
then the leaves stop shaking and all are wed.

Michael Salcman poet and art historian, was chair of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland. Poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review, New Letters, Notre Dame Review, and Ontario Review. Poetry books include The Clock Made of Confetti, nominated for The Poet's Prize, and The Enemy of Good Is Better (Orchises, 2011); his anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors and diseases is forthcoming (Persea, 2014).