Before the Snake
Sitting, facing the sun, eyes closed. I can hear the sun. I can hear the bird life all around for miles. It flies through us and around us, it takes up all space, as if we were not there, as if we had never interrupted this place. The birds move diorami- cally through our heads, from ear to ear. What are they doing, singing in this luminous fall. It is marvelous to be so alone, the two of us, in this garden desert. Forgotten, but remembering ourselves as no one will ever remember us. The space between the trees, the bare ground-sand between them, you can see the land's skin which is so much home. We cannot buy or sell this marvelous day. I can hear the sun and, within the sun, the wind which comes out of the world's lungs from immeasurable depth; we catch only a distant echo. Beyond the birds there are per- sons carrying their names like great weights. Just think: carrying X your whole life, or Y, or Z. Carrying all that A and B and C around with you, having to be A all the time, B, or C. Here you can be the sun, the pine, the bird. You can be the breathing. I can tell you, I think this may be Eden. I think it is.
Copyright © 2002 by Nathaniel Tarn. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.