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About the Lakeshore

ISSUE:  Summer 2012

Sculptural works serve also as drawings, songs
also as autumn afternoons. Ceramic vessels,
spun to perfect circularity, stand, so few
testaments to so many lives lost, so much time past.
Only tragedies are only themselves.
The year house finches nested in the holiday wreath
we had to use the back door even for guests.
All these mysteries—handwritten letters from strangers,
trunks in attics, weather and argument, music and math—
create variations of tone, density, path,

variations spoken of but not spoken, or spoken to,
variations sensed by the old brain, not by the new.
Years as markers worked fine until I lost count.
But that’s what I want, not the unit, leaf by purple leaf,
but the accumulation, the adding up that adds up to
a losing count, sum not arrived at through addition.
Day by day my days became not days, as my breaths
long ago became not breaths but respiration.
I take as our stay against decision
the outer reaches of our peripheral vision.

I frequently return to the fact of return,
follow the verb to the noun. I frequently
figure the figure, distrust distrust. Less often,
I wander along the lakeshore, trying to tell
if the path I am following is still, and is for me,
just because it was once, for someone else, a path.
When I pass the boat this path wanders past, I wonder
how long ago and for whom it last was a boat.
Let me claim this as my measure of your stealth:
you are in between the lines that have no breadth,

on a plane with no depth, yet you have the dimensions
of blood, thread, and wire, the tone of that handwritten letter.
Even peripheral vision has limits:
the colors of autumn, yes, but what about the smells?
What about the path, what about the lakeshore
I never wandered, the boat I never rowed, as a girl?
I don’t remember where I lost count; I do remember when.
In my last life I learned only specific gravity:
she floated, I sank. But here—you, me, second life, second world—
we can see we are stone and we are burl.


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