The Desert Homeric

By | 1 December 2009

for K F Pieters


in arid cities we have read as syntax flooded streets, marked tides in museums
where classical shadows

build birds of dust on their shoulders: the old tongue sleeps, forgotten, in patches,
but still the thirst:

the sky, a desert of tiredness, without image to drink, but almost the memory of
rain, half-tasted,

like jealousy in the back of the throat; the lake, maybe eroded, or a salt, unfed
expanse, a wilted lip,

dragging dust boundaries, outside the circle of light, the marble horse's pupil
gilded. sight splits a line,

a dry horizon, a pen raised to the chalky lips of cliffs, the vanishing point chewed
ragged by wide skies,

a seedless devouring, graced by neither coherence nor splendor. where we live,
on the edge of the letter,

a view pointing stillness, behind gray glass; time ripened under the eye's black
canopy, the plum

of a newly born century, split under the hard foreknowledge of a thumb; and after
the music

there will be the calm, a relocation of light, the movement exact, a trace of anger
held between hand

and paper, and in the wind, where cartographies click, and the surfaces rearrange
their notes, the desert

flaring, pulling a long story from our feet, after a lifetime spent suffering the stilted
innocence of flowers,

to avoid the belonging, the dull love: to walk horizontally along the edge of a word,
blinded by sun,

to forget what was seen, and what there is, and beneath real heel, to tread the fiction
of a hill:

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