For weeks I sift in vast exits
at the observatory where the nights hold
precisely their oversized plots
of what is shiny
back in the past.
In each hour the accurate
scientists peel off the liquid ending. Such worship
as theirs is ordinary for apt minds. Like most, I don’t
know what has gone loose
or is left out there.
The lens has a focus. I gaze
on spheres. Instants bruise
to badlands of universe and the data
in the disorderly fresh air.
They could tell me anything: the cornucopia
of comets or planets
or rain, and I’d still
hear the wind with its ghostly
grammar, its cradling, its groveling.
You can want to watch what is
unseen. I’ve done that. Spent years standing
in the purple shadows, or arranging
how to say how much
Spring blesses its fattening
buds in a process to resolve. The smell of ancestral
water. Pines teach sense, enclosing
what is true to life. But now—
before before before before before
I think what they tell me: verge
flank chipping brink bearing wet lip
thick grease scratched limit
until we are further
and further back.
The days at this elevation are cold.
of obstinate clouds. The sky has rolled off,
careering toward absence.
I can’t remember much, just
gas and cloud, elliptic dust. Pauses
loop out, loop between the going and the been.
I know water, canyons, earth. I know funerals. I have held myself up
at the cemetery again and again. I saw photos
of the start and was willing
to name—if not ever
belong to—that older subtraction.