Tired, hungry, hot, I climbed the steep slope to town, a sultry, watery place, crawling with insects and birds. In the semidarkness of the mountain, small things loomed large: a donkey urinating on a palm; a salt-and-saliva-stained boy riding on his mother's back; a shy roaming black Adam. I was walking on an edge. The moments fused into one crystalline rock, like ice in a champagne bucket. Time was plunging forward, like dolphins scissoring open water or like me, following Jenny's flippers down to see the coral reef, where the color of sand, sea and sky merged, and it was as if that was all God wanted: not a wife, a house or a position, but a self, like a needle, pushing in a vein.
[Nara Deer Park]
With my head on his spotted back
and his head on the grass—a little bored
with the quiet motion of life
and a cluster of mosquitoes making
hot black dunes in the air—we slept
with the smell of his fur engulfing us.
It was as if my dominant functions were gazing
and dreaming in a field of semiwild deer.
It was as if I could dream what I wanted,
and what I wanted was to long for nothing—
no facts, no reasons—never to say again,
"I want to be like him," and to lie instead
in the hollow deep grass—without esteem or riches—
gazing into the big, lacquer black eyes of a deer.