And yet...it was never the Earth
that ended, the round verdant
globe itself humming with mud
and lava, but what we called
"earth," meaning the ideal plane
of our own existence.
In that Realm, its four corners
delineated by the rising and setting
of the sun, the equinatorial
possession, we, as Socrates said
moments before his death, nestled
in one of the hollows
only the deluge. The Great Flood
so haunted our dreams, that
that we kept trying to pack up
what we could rescue, vacating
For we had forgotten the names
of the stars. Like those peasants,
our fathers, who hoped to dredge the depths
of heaven, we cast a line out, spooling out,
into the night sky, and drew up nothing but the skull
of a horse, its ancient, antiqued head.
But it was only the ancient bodies
of the gods wheeling
out of sight, and something new,
unbearably bright, beginning
its heliacal rising. Out in the desert,
a Navajo woman is struck by lightning.
She begins to glimpse the Rainbow Deities.
They visit her. They eat. In the sky
over the Hopi reservation,
a comet approaches, trailing
its shimmering hair,
and, among the places of Desolation
that we have created upon the earth,
sprout the tiny seedlings
of unknown species. A deer
in Vietnam grows canine teeth
and begins to eat meat
and to bark like a dog.
We do not know what is
or becoming. Once, we were planted here
by the stars. We were scattered
like seeds upon the ground. We are just beginning
to open. We are just
Issue #11, September, 1999 :
Santa Fe Poetry Broadside.