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ISSUE:  Autumn 1985

Today air and water have fused,
no lake, no sky, no horizon. . .
an apartment wall.
A Kline poster for decoration,
books, cinder blocks and boards,
teapot, frying pan, coffee cup. . .
the dishes pile up in the sink.
The faucet drips, drips
as gray afternoon ticks into evening.
A woman moves in perhaps,
bringing curtains, a rug,
a couple of geckos.
But you, preoccupied,
listen to the careful tick, tick
considering the possible combinations
waiting for the tumblers to fall.

The colors are black and white
or combinations thereof.
The answers are yes and no,
yes no yes no no no and yes
or maybe
when seen from a distance.
A million little dots, plus or minus,
seen from a distance of 800
or so million miles. . .
a computer-enhanced photo of Saturn
(suitable for framing).
From this distance it is possible
to think in only the grandest terms
yet someone walking
just behind you has disappeared
between one and zero.

Everywhere you look are the poor, the old and sick,
those who must count the cost of everything, each tooth,
each hair numbered,
each icy step a risk,
those for whom one and one and one
add up to nothing, no horizon
a shuffling walk from bed
to window where the muted light
plays on the building next door.

At 186,000 miles per second
the light crackles at our fingertips.
What we want makes no difference,
we are the light, it is the light
that drives us. . .
downtown, the office, home again,
the meter running:
respiration—normal, pulse—rapid.
The schoolhouse, trees,
people passing
all casting no shadows.


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