Today I am getting my instructions.
I am getting them from something holy.
A tall thing in a nest.
In a clearing.
There is a little dread no memory and everything’s looking for
signs. We don’t know
if this is the way forward or the way
back. Do you? Is it a hundred yards or a million years. A small conifer
appears to be laughing.
Wind would be nice but
it’s only us shaking.
Listen up it says. Loosen up. It’s all going to be
ok. Going to be fine. Give me your hand. What is this you
are giving me, where are
your hands, what can you
grip. The thing I am asking for, it is not made of
words. No. It is not made of
data. No.
Let’s get the map I say. Let’s
browse through. Over here famine over here
switchbacks over here to the best of my recollection haunted
faces of those on
the road. The road itself moving as if in a
molten fury. One of us had come back from some other place—
Alaska, a father dying in rage, screaming on his
floor, saved by
We’re so full of the dead the burnt fronds
hum, getting going each day again into too much sun to no
avail. I was human. I would have liked to speak of
that. But not now. Now is more
complicated. I have no enemy except day. The edges
turn hot and
hot. Shadow hard to find and those threads of it
like hoarded rations. Temp dies down only
slightly but it is
everything, lungs tight as fists inside, yr name just about stripped from
u if u try to say it out
loud. Fetuses like flames going out as they
arrive. Someone found a light bulb in a spot where mud still
was. It looks more alive than we had
recalled. We imagine what it
might seem like
lit. A palpitation of light strokes our imaginations. We are never sure
what was memory, sweet, burning, gigantic, silent—
long erasure underneath the
wind as it comes by so in-
frequently that we all stop when it
You remember u understood completely that u are lost.
The phone call comes. You pick up the
receiver and hear the
final sounds of the islands. They are murmuring we want to
weep and lie down. They lie down. Voice lies
down. Says hello
in the normal way. So it all seems like
the world as it had always been, has always been. Here in the
sliver-end of the interglacial
lull. Human time. It
Then the voice says it’s not good
news. From now on you are alone. Whatever before had meant
before, now there is a blister over time. Savor of the up-
ahead—lovely blown dust at yr footsteps—gone.
So one has to figure out now how to
time. Your time & then
time. Planet time and then yr
protocols, accords, timeframes, tipping points,
markers. Each has a prognosis. Each has
odds. You stop on the bridge in the evening on your way
home and look down to see the
empty riverbed
flow. In you
the minutes flow.
The idea is to feel them?
What are our rates of speed. Where is runaway. How far
away. I listen for it.
The city sounds. The sockets of
my eyes, I feel them. The dust
that will cover it all. The sky peered into when I am gone by
Will the river fill again.
Will there be pity taken.
Will it ever rain again.
What is ever. What is again.
What is it we mean by ok.
Take this October. The deep white turn the air is taking.
How many more
Octobers. Is there another October with us in it.
Blood flows in my hand writing this.
The crows glance through the upper branches.
They are not waiting.