Not every day but most days that summer I went calmly and quietly and climbed to the sixth floor of the library and walked not fast and not slow but with purpose down the last row and reached almost without looking to the same place on the shelf and pulled out the large book and carried it to a chair that looks out toward the ridge, to a mountain that is there, whether it is or it isn’t, the mountain people love, maybe for this, love and die with all their love, trying, and I opened to the page where I left off before, and sometimes the library announced it was closing, sometimes I got hungry, sometimes it looked like rain, and I’d close the book and carry it again, with purpose, back to its exact place on the shelf, and I’d walk down the stairs and out of the building, and it was like I’d left it ticking.
Soon the time when just roads and rivers
run dark in the white. Then they’ll be gone.
But during such days of path and vein
you’ll trace back how things became.
You’re standing in a curving lane of birches
with the word confidante. The birches
are hilled, coming toward you, going away,
and it’s with you, this word, the same as light
coming bright off the snow, or light being held
as blue shadow. All of this
not far off, but nothing’s even fallen yet,
the woods empty, done boning up.