We drive on County A until it becomes
County Z until it becomes County B,
and like the Wisconsin highways themselves—
their road-side forests, cheese huts and brat stops,
and level, rarely travelled back roads—
we sink into a complacency that slows
everything down, that spins our radio dial
to jazz, something softer, unhurried,
and then she's in front of us, a great doe,
stooped, unsure. Everything is silent
is perfect again. We're still in our seats,
the engine idling. She doesn't flinch,
is waxen is possumed on four legs.
I want to remember her forever.
A car horn behind us, and she lifts
her head and her legs like springs
like pistons like an eternal geyser (but
her body, flexless, smoothed, unrippled)
and she's gone and we're left with talk radio,
a sleeping baby, our held breaths, a shuttle
to the moon if we could just remember our names.
Hell, even the Puritans knew better than to tempt
perfection, than to venture
too deeply into the woods alone—fallen trunks as the harborers of old boot-soles
or devils gone awry, swamped patches of grass as the why-nots
of sinners and their accomplishments
(if the devil is in Nature, then what
can be found outside oneself worth celebrating? what is the devil's
role in snowfall and hurricanes?
in random acts of kindness
In the winter-woods are left-over bits of church-wood,
food for termites and loners alike—
bare-twigged trees a February wind can't shake,
their limbs wet-dark in the snow, are ghostly, are arithmetic,
are what simple people fear most:
we gather in our palms, like so much ash,
all that's left to gather.
things drop from me:
whole countries of time and lemons,
lists of lists, and silent movies
about lakes. What I love about lakes
I love because, like baseball or syntax—
Hugo said, truth must conform to music,
and that's true, but what he meant
to say was: it's okay to be hungry,
just don't eat the dog or the celery.