V: Even the Apex Is Willed


Poem / Natasha Sajé
( Utah and Vermont )

Art / David Niles
( Paxton, Massachusetts )


In these mountains it's a ghost, the wind. 
How did it end on earth?
Some avalanche of snow, or drought—

No. It died in its bed
like those in the vestibule of hell
whose sin was being small of heart, 

undecided. Deeper down, there's a circle 
for greed and gluttony. The old cat howls for 
water, for food, more so—in its twenty years, 

it has only learned to be more so. Can I 
be saved from such intensity or should I pray 
for it.  Good deeds replace faith—and in 

their absence, wind.  The plucked dry and scentless 
wild mint, the yarrow brittle and colorless.  
Not even white. Less so. A photograph 

of myself at one, standing crazed in my crib, 
clinging to its bars with one wide eye larger 
than the other, more so. My mother's fear 

and my father's stubbornness. The cat's clinging, 
charming in youth, now a nuisance on wobbly 
legs. Always the disproportion, pressing toward 

something, somewhere, or being pushed. 
Perhaps even the apex is willed. Rare 
and troublesome winds are named: föhn, sirocco, 

harmattan.  The people who live with them 
get headaches, ions drawing out every last 
reserve of sanity.  Mouthfuls of sand. 

At thirty knots, umbrellas are destroyed, 
a body's airborne at one hundred. Plagues 
of locusts, monsoons, catastrophic Coriolis 

force. Our daily mountain-valley wind moves 
only as fast as I can run, aspens 
shiver in its ten-knot thrall.  It's no excuse 

for bad behavior.  Cool and warm, climb and dip, 
sunrise and sunset swapping sides, its rhythms 
are like tides. And any sound caught 

is mangled or disappears—

Intersection of Memory

Next - VI: Farther Than Far / Paula Grenside - Hiroshi Watanabe


Current Issue - Winter 2004