In a Country
My love and I are inventing a country, which we can already see taking shape, as if wheels were passing through yellow mud. But there is a prob- lem: if we put a river in the country, it will thaw and begin flooding. If we put the river on the bor- der, there will be trouble. If we forget about the river, there will be no way out. There is already a sky over that country, waiting for clouds or smoke. Birds have flown into it, too. Each evening more trees fill with their eyes, and what they see we can never erase. One day it was snowing heavily, and again we were lying in bed, watching our country: we could make out the wide river for the first time, blue and moving. We seemed to be getting closer; we saw our wheel tracks leading into it and curving out of sight behind us. It looked like the land we had left, some smoke in the distance, but I wasn't sure. There were birds calling. The creaking of our wheels. And as we entered that country, it felt as if someone was touching our bare shoulders, lightly, for the last time.
From The Afterlife by Larry Levis, published by University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 1977 by the estate of Larry Levis. Reprinted by permission of the estate of Larry Levis. All rights reserved.