Sunday, August 16, 1981


      Where are your eyes?
      Vision slit through skin
      Plump as a ripe berry
      Slow as  quartz.
       —Susan Suntree

After 10 years, the road under the reservoir
is still visible in summer.
The edges of the road are slowly diffusing,
Its edges the same age as the lake bed and the shore.
The old cement bridge where the creek ran is underwater.
The road only offers a departure point into the lake.
Ten years measures a cycle of madness.

Boarded up windows
are like the white eyes of the blind.
The peeling mirror in the hayloft door is blocking the light.
It throws back to the sky an image of itself
framed by the liquid green of out leaves.
Behind the mirror, the cobwebs gather dust in solitude.
Through a light shaft, dust motes drift on air currents.

I've noticed how the eyes of calves
are like twin pools of murky light
surrounded by a shore of retina and vein.

Last night my stomach forced a tidal wave back down.
This morning I had to reason my nausea into being.
I read your poems, could feel the finger behind the ey,.
The finger in the eye socket finding
Not water but a boneless desert,
An arrid fold of brain.
There is nothing to punish there.
The eye was innocent of thought.

Sweet, the cycles of rain follow the footpaths of seasons.
Count them, the cycles of madness.
I hear the rain singing in the manner of the beasts,
Yet I am wholly human and, I can hear the singing of rain.
The sound reserved for the ears of beasts.

What separates this wretched tangle
of human flesh and bone from that of beasts?
Those liquid-eyed calves imprisoned in cages
So their flesh will stay succulent and tender
suckle my finger, the urge to nurse strong in ones so young,
Their petal tongues caress the index finger
And they know, somehow they know it is wrong.

In their eyes I can see the fish-lens reflections
Of myself and the summer sky.
Every action demands an equal.
Lying in the moldy hay inside the barn
are the mummified carcasses
Of these born too young,
Of those whose mothers could labor no more.
The breech-birth breath hangs heavily in the air.
Their choice was made for them.

It is difficult to learn how to forgive
what we have done
And pity is also self-inflicted.

I am not a sailor.
These islands hold no water.
The eye is a cistern in the arrid toneless plain.
A repository for madness,
the eye, innocent of thought.


I started to dictate this, but the errors were so many, I gave up. Too much work for a poem that doesn't work. Maybe I'll cannibalize a line or two.
added 10/16

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