I rubbed wax crayon against blowing paper.
From the rock face footed a dancer white through red.
My family gave me over
to it, gone for the river.
Were I a peasant harvesting grapes near Beaune
in the last century, even, I might have dreamed
a saint lifting off for Arles,
Les Saintes Maries de la Mer,
and knowing about cannon in that long peace,
might have been troubled therefore that my flier
hauled a magnum of the best
and bloodied the west sky with it
and vanished. My fisting that loose sheet in place
was secretarial, not visionary!
Already in that decade
small tribes entered the void
like windows on a skyscraper when the bent
janitor makes his way. But those flick back on
each night, costly difference.
It is not only portents
in dream or flapping images of the gone
or the soon-to-be-going or the tremblingly poised
that catch like undertow
the foot in tide-rip toeing
down the singing or remembered beach.
We study populations in the forests,
we hold the paper flat,
mark, note, warn—the dictated
prophecies do their work, we do some work—
cut horn from rhinos so they won’t be poached.
But, to go on from there,
one needs to stand in the doorway
some evening and feel the air as if it were fire
pulling illusionlessly, letting the draw
of one fact heat its chain
of links, such as, Japan
clear-cutting forests in Siberia
where tigers not already harvested
lope their dwindling range,
two hundred as the hinge
for their growled arc of existence, bones of the others
ground to powders for old men’s potencies.
One needs to feel the tug
of the draft on skin, the drag
of process utterly anciently itself.
Faster, now, the pull is from birth through dwelling through
dissolution, along lines
streaming through us, ageless winds.