Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Jack’s Mountain Road

Fairfield, Pennsylvania

I walk the sundown Jack’s Road
to a covered bridgewhere the beasts pass

In circles ever-shorter
Birds in scarlet clouds
flame the water

At the place
where mountains cross
the glow starts
purple brush strokes
cloth covered sundown
So much lightI cannot watch it all.
Each noisy birdhears night close.

Two hundred feet from the bridge
I pick honeysuckle;
my shirt is white,I am huge

Shall I slip into its throat—count the
wooded rings?

Do I run?

A high wire artistpumping my armsup and down
along the yellow line.

Inside the bridge
I heard the dream
of the bridge sleeping
the mask slid off its wrinkled skin.

I am outside,
remembering my eyes as they hunt for my face;
car lights reflect off inside wood.

Cross-legged I sat in the center of the tunnel
listening to fragments of my tongue—
how it was when the wood rained,
and the night broke out into hail—
its secrets writ in bold flat letters

You are demon and saint;
no one will laugh
here are the keys to the brook.
Let it flow each night
when the bed shakes
and you are sleepy.

I am extinguished!
The cows bellow, I pass home.
The water will not stop
though I entered and cursed it.

Inside the bridge I write until the sky is black --
lights from the cars silhouette each word
until I hide all the figures with my cupped hands.

In these last years
when the sun cracked brown
and the motion you felt
when the earth shook
was a worm
crawling inside your coffin?

The sunset is colder,
yellows more fragile—
The Bridge has risen three times,
three layers of sweat,
faces that sleep in the bridge are not forgotten.

5.The sun has finished,
haven’t you heard its whimpers?

Its motor and secrets locked,
the bridge just stands there
I am at the beginning
the sunset is missing
that bridge that I follow is perfect,
no one watches
while I sleep on its roof

Above the moon is half-cold --
damp purple has left Jack’s Mountain.
The bridge, a long shadow even by car lights.
My image a long second behind:
silver fish on the underbellies of power lines

I have no lips;
no cleft chin;
my birth just happened.

In Jack’s place
I walk one step
a year backward.

Before the bridge
I dreamt of the bridge as it was—
Its young cut ancient rocks
400 million years past,
there was a warm sea,
brachiopods, trilobites

The geotectonics of mountains
are more than a sunset.
The creek within
fat from three days of rain
reaches up the stepped stones.
Each rock face bent
by the warp of the crust.

God, she moves beautifully
400 million years
or ten billion reduced to dust,
helium compressed—
its memorylike mine
is yesterday or last year.

My dream contracts
like an aging star.
Car lights stop all motion,
my outline pulls inside my belly.
My face is that dense neutron star
(Ten-thousand light years distant)
A remnant, a fabricated bridge,
my self made of its rays.


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