It has arrived—the long rag rug
multiply folded. On top, one alien hair.
I put my face to the folds and smell despair
palpable as salt air
in all those rooms and houses, small and smug—
enclosures I passed through on my way where?
Whoever did the weaving appears old
in my mind’s eye. I can’t make out her face,
can only conjure up the faintest trace
of an abstracted grace,
clack of the loom. Does she know they’ll be sold
these precious things, in some unheard-of place?
I perch her on a hill, precariously
beyond the reach of waves’ daily boom.
Sun blazes overhead, but her dim room
(no bigger than the loom)
is proof against the violence of the sky
From it I further spin what I once called my home:
Endless horizons fading into haze,
the mornings dawn came up so rosy clear;
snails in the garden, sheep bells everywhere,
the brightness of the air,
terraces, valleys organizing space
and time’s cessation. So this package here
I’m now unwrapping, in New York, today
(rugs like rainbows, woven with a grace
my strands of language barely can express;
dishrags of dailiness
dispersed and recombined and freshly gay)
comes to me imbued with images,
slowly and faithfully across the water,
across the world. It represents a time
I myself snipped and recombined as rhyme
as soon as I went home,
if that is where I am. These rugs recover
the sense of stepping twice into a single river.