Redwinged blackbirds in the cattail pond—
today I kicked an elk hoof off the path,
read that armadillo eaters can catch
leprosy, but who eats armadillo and eats
it rare? Last night you wrote that, walking
to the stables, you glimpsed horses at twilight
in a field. We walk barefoot up a ridge
and roll down a dune; sip raki, savor
shish kebab and yogurt in an arcade.
Once we pored over divination lines incised
into tortoise shells, and once we stepped
through the keyhole entry into a garden
with pools of glimmering water. In the gaps
between my words, peonies rise through hoops
behind our bedroom—peonies are indeed
rising through hoops behind our bedroom—
you comb your hair at the sink as they unfold.
Faucets drip, and the night plunges to minus
fifteen degrees. Today you stared at a map
of Africa on a school wall and shook your head
at Yugoslavia written along the Adriatic
coast near the top—how many times
are lines drawn and redrawn, and to what end?
This ebony bead yours, that amber one
another’s. A coelacanth swims in the depths
off Mozambique and eludes a net; a crystal
layer forms behind your retinas. Today
you saw the long plastic sheet in the furrow
blown, like a shroud, around elm branches.
A v-shaped aquatic grass cutter leans
against the porch, and you ponder how things
get to where they are. A young writer
from Milwaukee who yearned to travel calls—
he’s hiked the Himalayas and frets
at what to do: in Nepal, during civil strife,
he and an Israeli backpacker smoked
and yakked all night in the emptied hotel;
now that the snow is dissolving off Everest,
bodies of climbers and trash are exposed.
A glowing eel in the darkness—anguish.
He clacks the beads, how to live, where to go.