In the still summer swamp a cypress knee’s
a mountain. Behind the patient transparent lid
of danger there is not a single smooth straight
line on two hundred million years of hide.
On the hill I dump more March snow
behind my truck into a pile impenetrable as Everest
without a Sherpa. The uneven humps
of buried cars stretch ahead: back of a giant alligator,
danger lies silent on the surface of the road.
For Tomas Transtromer
The ice on the road sees us with our own eyes
and is no better than we are at helping ourselves
as direction changes. In a winter far south of here,
the edge of still water is guarded by cypress knees,
like a tired army that lay on their backs for a nap
and never found a reason to get up. Beyond them
I heard the bellow of a bull alligator claiming the world.
By a cold spring corn field a thousand miles
away, watching the storm’s wind sprint across
before it could be heard or felt, I know everything
can be claimed, like these memories—are the endless
chances to say hello merely a shout over the slumbering?
Is the wind with its violence finally hearing us with our ears?
I will sit here with you for a while and see what comes.