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.