( Lexington, Kentucky )
The flax-weaversí wisps
sturdy as stumps in the wind-whipped field
As in its opposite, slippery
How did he learn that story
disguised, sliding between the borders
Not, holed, as Lace
clipped, rearranged gene chains
interrupted by intrusions
The patterns of elusive
Of unspoken instructions
long sullen silences
acres of space between the edges of a bed
grudges holding grudges
As bubbles, thickly trapped in hand blown glass
warps of sounds as once familiar voices mumble
Stop: I canít decipher the twists and channels
of your Low German
microwave rumblings on this cordless phone
What were once boys breathe
sleeping in separate rooms
While the dawn awaits
and the night's snow settles onto
the curves of branches
The young men soon will arise
and gather their things
take account and count again
their balances their departures
As the dawn steadily pursues
so do they prepare their purposes
Inevitable, and proper
as snow soon blown from branches
or seeping into the skins of trees
Blankets over shifting gardens
What was once sun, gone. A sound like a screech. No birds anywhere, just machines in
the near distance. The scratch of loose plastic, one edge. Things flutter. A progressive
whitening of the sky. Who and what is taking its noonday nap?
Nudge down among the newest mints with magnifiers. Thick-skinned, cacti-like tokens
of the early season. Under-water urchins. Waxed protectors of the above-the-tree line.
Into this whirs one who protests a scene. A scene, he says, is untrustworthy, or anyone
in it. What he likes instead is a stance, alone. The lone stance of an individual, squinting
into sunset, hat tipped back. Eavesdroppers welcome, but not judges. He thinks aloud
with his fingers tap tap. Connecting dots.
In the scene of the lone, disparate colors mute. A simplification towards the monochrome.
As tints of sepia, of old. The stretched, tangled taproot systems of the superficially planted,
twitching above the clay. Haired, eyeless mole noses, fanned out and across the tunneled
surfaces. Neurons, nearly. If magnified. Rawly exposed by cautious archaeology: brushes
and tweezers. In this region, the frontier is the border, closing in.
How the headbanger looks
knitted cap pulled off
That, you will not forget
The rest, the papers razored
The censor's clean cuts
The walled off remains:
Suddenly, Someone slams through
requesting your address
Your mother forewarns you
in a rare, evening phone call
One percent of captive animals:
They bite their own limbs
They rub their fur to baldness
Exposed, the half tree still stands
It is worse than burned:
That whole huge section somewhere transported
Yesterday, I ran for binoculars
The woodpecker disappeared
I want me out of this picture, now
Many of the visitors who fall from the gorge are from out of state.
I don't know why that is, unless they're not familiar with this type of terrain.
"Red River Gorge Deaths Reach Record Levels"
Lexington Herald Leader, 10-19-95
Names translate the same
from every language but our own.
Sirocco. Santanta. Fohn.
A weird wind is blowing in.
Witch. Devil. Poison.
Air sparks with positive ions.
Children whirl on playgrounds.
There is no healing in wounds.
Squirrels, propelled by demons,
leap up from branches.
Lawyers proclaim innocence.
We barely hold on to our senses.
There will be guardrails soon.
Next - Jim McCurry
Current Issue - Winter 2005