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The View


ISSUE:  Spring 1987
 Climbing the stairs to my room;
at the top of the landing the light
through the dormer window makes a
familiar diamond on the floor, but
when I go over and look out instead
of the usual view of backyards and
fences, there is a wide, calm river
flowing into the house where I stand.
On either side are grassy banks and
on the right bank two huge animals
are rearing up and biting and butting
their heads; and when I am afraid for
them instantaneously I am shown an
x-ray of the one, how under the skin
the bone structure goes everywhere
and it couldn’t be hurt, and when I
see the other’s antler is torn and
soaked with blood, the thing inside
which knows says it is like a fingernail
and will grow back. Then I relax
and watch until dark as the river flows
into the house. When I awake I realize
it was a dream of the world before man.

That scene, so slow-moving and serene,
recalled in anxiety and pain, like the
shining dot you focus on to blot out
the dentist’s drill, joins those other
old repeated thoughts you reach for
and hold when tired and lifeless you
seek rejuvenation in the scenes
of childhood, a long ago victory, or
memories of first love which still move
us, far as we are from them and so
hopelessly changed.

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