The Effect of a Sestina on Field Notes, 40.4220˚N, 105.7411 ˚W
by Elizabeth Ensink
Objective: To explore answers on a human page.
Conditions: In the cold soil, a plant clings
pale green; its thriving forms a text.
Survival as a question
sings in the wind in eighth notes
and finds an answer where roots connect.
To find truth, the dots must connect
between each thinly crinkled page.
The best ones have notes
sprawled in the margins like clinging
lichen spreading across stones. Questions
grow in rocky soil, with texture.
Methods: When you sent a text
message last night, it didn’t connect
until five a.m. and your question
was past, but I wrote it on a page
of my notebook where it clings
in my mind’s furrows. Field notes:
The black rosy finch chirps notes,
singing soprano without a text
to follow. A pika clings
to its cache of seeds for survival, connects
burrows underground. A field guide page
describes their behavior, without questioning.
Maybe the phlox questions
its brevity: two months to flower. Notes
wither too. Decayed pages
in my trashcan, your handwritten text
with no roots that connect
below the surface and cling–
Not just grow and spread, but cling–
to rocks in all the alpine questions
screaming in the wind. Connect
mountaintops to earthworms and note
each detail with pencil-printed text
and then turn to a new page.
Discussion: Don’t cling to these notes.
Questions, forget-me-nots, bloom from a text,
and human truth connects above the tree-line page.