He Stood

He stamped his feet and opened the door, stood on the threshold, turned around. The desert light shrank his eyes, sun slammed his face—he almost lost his breath—blond shiny grasses, ring of distant mountains pinking in the haze, the scorched but somehow fertile earth—he wiped his brow—he couldn’t go in, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t say why—as if he too were a thing dried in sunlight, stopped in his tracks in the heat that fixed him in its gaze—rattlesnake Medusa—where he breathed the stinging dusty winds as though a rock inhaling rock—his proper evolution?—and fed on silence as it flowered and fell—the fierce clarity, the fierce restraint—front door behind him hanging open like a thrown shadow as he blazed in place... a man inside the view... the zooming arc... and edge to edge the blue absolute...

More by Aaron Shurin

The Practice

They mistook me for illumination — a revenant in walking shoes — so I gathered significance and spread text... stood beneath the seven cardinal points with arms upraised — practical telepathy — in a white paper suit like a flag of surrender, thunder at my back... I was an open man of the open streets — a burnished sieve of common purpose — scrawled on walls, thrashed cans and blasted caps for equivalence. I wasn't alone — the boulevards teemed with wiggly kids and mooing parents slow as boulders. In the Plaza Palabra on a green iron bench a grand senora suffered the odes of schoolboys and thugs — smiled behind an opal fan while they searched for words to match their tumultuous nights — and all words fit... In July — volubility — I hoarded cherries, catalogued their juices — were they Rainier, Blood Nut, Royal Ann, Squirrel Heart, Rosebud or Bing? —then swallowed them one by one like detonations...initiations...In a fever of taxonomy I followed a squadron of dragonflies right to the vanishing point...Incarnation is a provisional state, but stretches outward like noon. For practice, I wallowed and stretched...