Monday, August 30, 2010

97. Words for Water

Too many days driving
and a car cannot be a home
though allowing some sights
by the simple moving through
of a car:

a sunset but without a view
of sun, only how the sun at that
angle, the earth itself at that angle to
the sun, the car at that angle down
a mountain, produce a receding
set of mountains, each flat as
a card fanned out inside a hand,
and each a different shade
of blue before the sun shines
into the eyes, and even road
becomes difficult to see;

a quick trip across an overpass,
and a glimpse of a car wreck strewn
across lanes, multiple cars opened
and broken, the people invisible;

the car allowing you the opportunity
to remember something because
it allows you time and visions.

The entire world is visions,
and they come up at you unexpectedly,
until you are too afraid to move
in your car anywhere
because your car shows you everything.

Maybe three thousand miles,
just about that, we traveled this month,
all in the same car we now live in,
comfortable enough for traveling
great distances, and we don’t know
when we will stop or where
we will go next or when next we’ll find
a drink. Everything surprises.

We are called to travel for friends,
for family, for work, for poetry,
such as she is. Travel is an obligation,
as is making it to a destination,
finding a person and shaking a hand,
or giving a hug, giving greetings,
saying goodbyes. To drive is an act
of communal living, moving in a stream
of cars, and still streaming forward.
The car beside you may turn into you
in a moment, without warning,
and you will see the white glare of
its fender, which might be the sun
setting into your eyes, or it might
be headlights because it is
always night, even when
you are thirsty.

It is hard
to tell. And it is harder to tell
the more you know. Everything looks,
at least in part, like everything else.
Every one of the things of the earth,
everything you see gives away
some part of itself to the recognizable
shape of something else. Mountains
are playing cards. The sun is
a flashlight. The fingers are
crabs moving sideways.

With time you learn the shapes of things
so that you cannot tell one from another.
That is your gift, one given with time.
You see how everything is the same as
everything else and merges into one
shape, one voice. And I couldn’t hear
them if I’d wanted to right now, so sleepy I am
that I have fallen away into dream
while writing this,

and I dreamed of something
that looked like everything else,
and I called it “water”
for I had forgotten the word
for sleep.

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