He saw the oaks firmly rooted
in the void. Power is a matter of branching.
He had seen the mountains, vast storerooms holding
only themselves, high empty cellars.
And deer. With legs as thin as stethoscopes
they stood listening to the breast of the earth,
and as soon as they heard something, they ran away,
inventing pizzicato as they fled the horizon.
that makes one calm. And the empty, provocative gestures
of the wind, come along, come along, though no one followed.
And the depths, gulfs that make one uneasy. And being silent,
because that's what everything was doing, and being too big.
Then God said: and now you. No, said Adam.
and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.
It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
I trade for junk. This rusting lawn chair
belonged to my wife's mother
when she was a child.
We've had it ever since she sailed over the horizon.
I've spent hours in discomfort,
watching ground squirrels hiding pecans in the weeds
or listening to the neighbors party on their deck.
Crossing one leg, then the other,
leaning forward and back.
I can't bring myself to throw it away.
Like the half-sister I used to have,
strange, insane they said—
perhaps involved in the occult,
but oddly a part of the family.
We didn't get anything for her.
On a hot day, March of `9S,
we traded my grandmother
for a purse full of used kleenex.
In the shed is what we got for
grandad, a hoe with a broken handle.
Before long, the house and yard
will be covered in junk.
We take what we can salvage
of their lives. The stuff of rummage sales—
jars of buttons, knitting needles,
three-legged chairs, polyester pant suits.
drab corset of grief.
somewhere, some chicken
the dark apart from the body.
to October's horizon and bears down, until even here
epic maze of rust and chain link,
that isn't slowly subtracting its ache,
from decades of unribboning.