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Improvisation on Gimli

Quarterlight, spilt from the grey jaws of the lake, the day flashes its brindle coat.

I haven’t been here in years, where the wind calmly scours the bones And the landscape shows us its tonsure, its loose hair-shirt. Where nothing climbs, any clear cathedral Must be laid like rabbit fencing, A heel-pressed grace.

I think of my grandmother Crossing in her snowshoes This atlas of snow To visit the farm Of an old Communist

Who showed her half-secret Books whose pageswere Cut first in Russia Carried hidden in Apple crates stuffed with straw


Obscure teachers she sat With under the brambles Of a history Drifting like flotsam. She learned to hate guilt.

It was a line she took For her own, fashioned It like a guitar string Laid it out, drew it Tight. We lay on hands.

Palms upward, Pressing close the calendar of years And early evening coming on

I lay my face to the possibility of the next season When this place will wear the burning fields like the hem of a gown

What will be found in the scorched ground White stone, broken blade, old tooth, or Something else.


Improvisation on Gimli