Issue 157, Winter 2000
This vast meandering flat-bottomed gully
much smaller than a valley, with a hump
of rock spined all its length is home to—what,
outside of sumac clumps and goldenrod?
I know nothing of the wind nor of the life
it animates down there, though now I see
its lower edge traced by the longing grass
which never snaps upright but always curls.
The slope across from me is calicoed
with plants that have no name; a honey bee
is fattening on the nettles I'm amid
although I can't say where the hive is. Long
runners of sun reach out above my head
for feed-corn fronds. There's nothing yet to root,
but root they will: bright goldfinches as well
as tallow corn.
This hungry bee won't leave—
perhaps my soap? Who knows? Signaling by scent
that like a flower I'm empty, that I long
to quicken into what I see beyond
myself: my petals have begun to age
into invisible July wind, exposing
the void they've held suspended, quicksilver
view of the world once hidden in their colors,
a negative nearly developed, developing since
(and, doubtless, long before) I first noticed myself.