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.
From Middle Earth by Henri Cole. Copyright © 2003 by Henri Cole. Published April 2003 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.