Tonight I hear machines at their dark work in the dark, I understand 
the sound they make among the gaps between the trees 
to mean: someone is building, something is being built, a man 
tilts at his deadline with no moon tonight to show him how. My son 

lies sleeping apostrophic in his bed, one month gone by since 
I first trimmed his hair, those fine gossamer follicles falling, leaflike, 
like the inflection of the one declarative command: change. I take 
myself out. Not far-off, not near, the earth-grinders make 

their voices heard like drag-harrows behind them. The physical world 
contains an inexhaustible supply of metaphor
, I tell myself 
again; I tell everyone. They listen. They listen like I listen 
to the mind’s interrogative, landscape’s imperatives, night’s 

silent rescission. Seeing today—it was my birthday— 
the steep-sloped flanks of Old Rag Mountain, as if 
for the first time: like part of what that knob stands for 
has been redacted, excised, reforested with that hard full head 

of chinkapin and oaks like hairs. Witness-trees like weather vanes. 
Hickories in their bitter greens: mockernut, shagbark, shellbark. 
A mile distant, a wind whips up their crowns like thick sweet cream; 
I watch a sharp-shinned hawk watch it and hatch her plan, light 

off a branch like the business she means. Her fine limbs quaver 
and approach. She hops, wings flick: all conveyor, no belt, or belt 
of raw air. Thermals outflank the Blue Ridge, insinuate themselves 
upside Old Rag’s bouldrous head. A red door opens in the sky: 

low light irradiates recalcitrant spruce, high-blown birds. The noise 
happens and happens. Who comes in. Who in the dark now stands alert.