Issue 75, Spring 1979
I stood by the river where the flesh of our world
Is swept it knows not where (but I knew)
And thought how one day the bottom land
Would be fields of bedrock, how the soil by increments
Would sift into regions we only dream of farming
And be shifted in vast, lazy motions by the currents:
Steady, unseen, great winds of the oceans.
I stood by the river and tried to forget the sounds
Of the water—almost silence—heard at its edge
A musical rasp, heard the splash of ugly, edible fish
With their guts full of mud and rusted hooks, thriving.
Floating all day through the clouds of dirt.
I stood by and tried to forget I stood anywhere.
That my bones—bidding each other Godspeed—
Had not wandered gently apart to be worn beyond fitting.
To diffuse with tiny puffs into particles minutely aware.
Spinning on themselves like worlds round a star.
By the river I forgot that I was dreaming occasions
Like those built with hard blocks of the pyramids,
Spiteful and desperate, coins of an enraged kingdom
That found out too soon it would be run into the ground.
I am forgetting even you, strange archaeologist, bedfellow,
Surgeon digging in a diseased earth, that finds
A moment's interest, exhumes the token of my presence,
Withered, recalcitrant, featherweight in the palm:
A tooth, five-cusped: man.