Issue 156, Fall 2000
All I can offer you now is weathered—
this face, these hands. I've lived too long underground.
My eyes cannot fix on the distance
without losing the edges that matter.
You, in the back: I could infer your type
by observing the ones here before me,
for I know all the types. But what is that
in face of what's been hidden in plain sight?
What's buried can easily be unearthed,
given a proper impetus and tools.
Obsessions, frailties, myths, griefs, and gods:
they can be discerned from what's uncovered,
yes, but why worry the world with your mind?
Why live in open graves, ruin your flesh
in others' ruins when living flesh carries
more weight, freighted, as it is, with all
that's come before it? If I can impart
one lesson, let it be this: love our surfaces
as though all our lives depend upon it,
because they do. The ancients, after all,
tilled their fertile soil with their fathers' bones.