Issue 159, Fall 2001
Alders, their roots' snarl in marshy soil.
Furtive roads, all summer dust, past
still ponds—a miniature vista
of open water.
Dry scattered archipelago. Sprung deer.
A heron sculls laboring through air.
Low ring of encircling hills.
The bog (vegetable matter primarily)
slowly turning into coal.
I was there.
Wasted, fetal, tannin-soaked
to purple leather, adorned
with twisted gold.
Anointed necrodaedalist, envoy
to the dead, practitioner
of missiology among the discarnate.
Now I sulk in the musée,
a noble geek,
lumined by science and millennia;
right arm severed by the peatcutter's
shovel blade. Flesh
rubbed to a gleam by curatorial beeswax.
Concerning its Settlers
It assumes not the degraded title of Epic, and the question,
therefore, is not whether the story is formed upon the rules
of Aristotle, but whether it be adapted to the purposes of
Poetry. —Robert Southey, Madoc, Preface
Scarred fingers. Willingness to face
danger for wages.
Unkeeled boats full of artisans, blasphemers.
Mind's imprint limited to craft and malaprop,
the odd navigational rule of thumb.
cartography.) All innocent
of grammar or syllogism.
None now remember.
They came to mine and trap. Harvested
but to dig. Sought—
and to this they were attuned—
concordances between seen rock
and extractable metals:
The glitter of pyrites in schist