Atlas Peak (audio only)

 

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Long after Hopkins

Nothing at dusk, lord, but dust 

                              and road to keep it. The field kneels 

under white pines, umbra the edge 

                              to whom this is addressed : 

a mind part fern, part birch : 

                              two turkeys slowly S-ing their necks 

through inflorescence, arrangement 

                              more precise than what light leaves 

fields : painterly flowers more color 

                              than picture, more words for color 

than tint : alizarin or violet, you could 

                              write goldenrod, write cornflower, 

but Queen Anne's lace still hems 

                              the low horizon. Faith, what is it 

abides, what's left of pastoral 

                              but unreality. Ask artifice. Ask ornament. 

Go ahead and ask : what principle 

                              animates the natural : owl pink Lady's Slipper 

orchid white-tailed deer woodchuck : 

                              is it only what's visible that's knowable. 

Twenty dandelions gone to seed; 

                              tent worms slung in the articulated 

tree; what's tiresome : mind 

                              unanswered, writing to supply 

scaffolds to hold up scenery, nothing 

                              but queries and plywood, string 

strung to a high struck bell auguring : 

                              it's too late to see a third turkey 

left headless, wreck of feathers 

                              the owl scared, scattered in grass—

Perceiving is the same as receiving and it is the same as responding.


thought begins as small floral bowls  :  they hold greens—broccoli stalks,


                                                       chopped kale—against Chinese blue


                                                       very dark, with a greenish tint :




the way a silence falls to each side


of the knife's stroke, the colors rhyme


softly and I think, I'll miss this when I die.    This is how I enter appearances


Separation is the necessary condition for light.


so it came to me to 
carry the abandoned 
mattress to the attic      

                         a month dead my father
		         waited hillside in the field 
 			 surrounding his house 

I was glad to see him
to remember when
the fathers seemed 

                          generic     related     a class
    			  of things as uniform as trees 
                          are when you don’t know
			
their names     a stand
of them across the field 
I want to say autumn

                           aspens     the late fathers 
                           blonde as early evening
 			   wind startles their eyes 
 
and makes of your name 
a sail      a boat above roots 
that rise to stem that rise 

		            to leaf his door and cornices    
                            his felt hat and mattress 
                            empty     it feels like forever
				
above the flickering field     
the fathers shrinking 
far beneath our feet



for Lisa Fishman