Big slow storms of Jupiter, help sooth us.
Sooth us with your patient weather, ochre,
gamboge, carmine, grey, swirling storms, giant.
And auroras, lightning, huge, cathartic.
Let us be like Galileo’s nameless
daughter, who threw herself into your heart
wrapped in curiosity, down, down, down,
swallowed by knowledge, by your huge brown storms.
Slow mottled gray skies, the empty plains
somewhere in the blown out corridor from
Houston to Galveston. Highway and plane
noise, far enough for privacy but frisson-
near enough for wanderers to run, run
the risk of observation, forced sight:
so much more than the dead camera, glum
in its facile adsorption of light.
An old abandoned pool languishing right
behind an encroached upon foundation,
obscenely, a chimney still stands, a blight
within a blight within a blight within station-
ary air. He mugs against the gray sky
and falls into shit for the camera’s eye.
In their enthusiasm, they built roads
(huge, wide things, six lanes or more, sidewalks)
for which they had no buildings, through forest,
or through meadow. But to drive them, empty
and spacious, is a kind of luxury.
You have passed from, at fifty miles per hour,
reality; prime industrial space.
And into what? At an empty crossroad,
kids have knocked down the “road closed” barriers,
the black circles of their tires crossing,
crisscrossing, looping across that square of
white concrete. With the barriers down
you can drive right through to where the road ends,
leave your car, and walk through dirt, to the woods.
Black holes are cold,
or so I am told.
And the bigger,
they must take it,
all in, all in.
When the universe
gets cold enough,
(meaning old enough),
they’ll let it all out,
in a trickle,
that might tickle,
enough to wait.
All this burning and yet still sodden world:
dead skunks along the road I drive homeward,
each day, raising smells like the underside
of lavender, dust and slate, my dry mouth.
They are, each day, ever more abstracted,
white and black coarse fur, driven by car wheel
ever more towards lumps of tufted pink gore,
then to brown, strangely flat things, dirt, dust.
I think nothing so honest
exists as the huge buzzard,
ready, unashamed, to eat
that which rots, to eat bowels,
to eat the soft grape of dead eye.
Luxuriously, they glide,
one by one, enormous winged
black birds, to perch on the corpse,
or to dance, wings outstretched,
around it on the dead grass.
We are trussed buzzards, bound tight,
just a hop from some big corpse,
rotted now, nearly perfect,
tender, fragrant. If we could
just slip our bindings to feast.
Amen I say to you: the fox which lives
in the abandoned building near our cabin
means nothing at all. It bears no portents.
Molecule by molecule it tumbles
through space, much like the rest of us, a dense
cloud, a dense cloud, a dense cloud of
matter whispering itself the quiet
evocations of its own being! Or!
It is brown. It stares at us silently,
while we sit there in our car watching it.
It is the brown of dead leaves, wet from rain
in late December, of mud, of the wood
of the empty building near our cabin.
“Some hunters dumped a corpse out on your land,”
she says, “I tried to catch them, but they slipped past me.”
We smelled it, of course, while we walked to shake
the last persimmons from the naked, wild trees.
In the cold, the smell was mild, even
complimentary, to those sweet, sticky
brown fruit, whose pulp stained our hands and jeans red,
where we squeezed it out, wiped it, eating.
Later, I saw its rib cage, bone white, resting
in a copse of wood. Insects had stripped it
mostly, but had then been arrested by
the cold of winter. Its limbs were askew.
One foot still had skin and fur. The hoof black.
In it, I saw the living thing, the deer,
somehow whole, paradoxically fixed
to this discarded pile of rotting bone.