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Who & Where

ISSUE:  Spring 1984

Where I live, it’s a long uphill to
the Great Divide where larger men crossed
a streak in the land rivers know.
Somewhere else there may be gold in trees
or dollars in the view. Here, we may be
nowhere ourselves but everywhere
on the way—so stop sometimes. We’ve eats,
nights, scars on the land, earth

you can pick up and squeeze,
the obvious. Sometimes we leave in
a line of dirt in a crack of skin.
If you drive past, you may see strange creatures
crossing the land, leaving behind them
heaps, bales, piles, clumps. And in the land:
supply lines, lost fingers, implements
left to rust where nothing now will grow.


Who I am is a short person with small feet
and fingers. When the hill is snowy,
I have to walk on the grass, and this gives
me a different viewpoint and wet shoes.
I see writers grow huge
in their writings. I get smaller yet,
so small that sometimes a tree is more
than I can look up to. I am down here with
all the other tiny, weak things. Sure,
once in a while I pull myself up
to assert something to the air, but oftener
I look for what was lost in the weeds.
The gods drink nectar, I drink fruit juice.
All my life people have told me,
“You are big, or will be.” But I’m small.
I am not at the center of the circle.
I am not part of the ring. Like you,
I am not the core, the dark star or the lit star.
I take a step. The wind takes a step.
I take a drink of water. The earth swallows.
I just live here—like you, like you, like you.


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