Two Poems


Arrival at the Complex

Over the rutted high road of this
	preserve, wide white
contrails converge, dimensioning
	a cloudless vast wash
above snow-battened grass: crisscross stalks,

some pressed, some melt-released, conduct acute
	sun-slant down tangent
	conduits ¬– pattern
	circumscribed like
Ojibwe basketwork in a museum by
	four roads’ roar,
	township, county,
	principality, continually
appearing in satellite photographs, proving here

is a gray rectangle of hectares containing
	two kidney-shaped lakes
	adjacent the new
tech park, commissioned to manufacture hope
	in this corner of the one
state so beleaguered it lost citizens
	in the last census.  Gone
from the oaks that line the road across the upper prairie 

are the thick leaves that hid the monolithic
	fabrication plant
from sight all fall: here it is, one unbroken shape, ugly as any
	surface without complexity
at every level of scale must be to us
whose deepest pathways are in-nested whorls, in-
	comprehensible
tessellations of intervolving spirals, branches, nebulae, yet

	this complex, I
	guess, conceals
intricacies obscure to me, that underwrite
	the flour of the very
bread in me, the synthetic fiber
of the fleece that holds my heat from
	January cold,
the corrective, shatterproof, and double-
paned glass that moves me through and keeps me
	from the world.









Tracing the Grooves

Housebound two days
		in storm, going round and round
the cheap used
			vinyl of a Bach fugue,
until it turns merely
ecclesiastical, and I no longer feel it
					as a lament
for the transitory nature of the worldly.

Deep roads
	reach Asylum
Lake.  Snow
is flying parallel
	the flattened grass
so fast it seems		not to fall, seems
a great ragged flag of surrender flying.

Into drifts, under branches piled white,
I walk into a clearing where
			snow slows,
and in sunbreak sifts
	like that “snow”
			of diatoms

onto the slopes of sunken mountains
taller than earth-mountains, which, so long
as sea surrounds them,
	will never erode.  The worldly is more
multiple than Bach’s unshattered
mirror showed.

A ghost-branch of heavy snow
		falls from an oak branch.
Years ago a storm-snapped branch fell
and shattered my dear friend’s skull.

These oaks creak
with white weight,
				like doors
that could blow open any moment
on an otherworld
		without because, without
		conjunction at all.

My friend is in me
on this mountain too deep
to see again.  We had crept to the edge
		of a four-thousand foot plummet
		in the Cascades.
He is stuck
		on that ridge,
looking down,
his face
		a blank lit by abyss.

A branch like a stylus fell

	onto that silence whose
	grooves, groves
	now everywhere turn

		under no sun, no moon.