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.
Sometimes a flag quietly appears
and leads one to a camp in the snow.
Oh, I am sick. I fade, I fall,
I curse this month, all it wants
to be. Its lot is the same
each time, unthawed.
Yet it taunts.
Another is just as warm,
as firm, as close to sweat and sigh
as I was, and this month
knows it. This month
and wise before the fire.