Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Broken Sundial

Wind drives great clouds
across the sky, above the valley,

the long, deep solemn valley,
exactly the length and width

of Manhattan Island, but
specializing in emptiness,

as its inverse, the bustling
city island, specializes in plenitude.

We are perched on the Rim
of this template of spaciousness

now, where more mule deer live
than humans, more ghosts

haunt the ruined archaeology
than bodies inhabit the houses,

most of which are second homes
of absentee owners, bare

and almost silent, some grand,
some humble, some bizarre,

where we know ourselves guests
of this house, this land, these clouds,

these native deer, tenants only
among the myriad missing owners,

the ancient and contemporary
people scattered over time and space

like these reappearing, racing,
disappearing clouds themselves,

that rise from the western red cliffs,
tower, tumble, and sink into mists

on the snowy La Sals
heaped up to the east,

the peaky catchers of clouds,
giant hampers of white nothings

whose constant transformation
changes everything without

changing nothing, the absence
that is its own presence, the feeling

of an emptiness more
substantial than everything.

In our rented, also mostly
empty house, an old clock ticks

high on the wall, too high
above our reach to correct,

sounding just like time, except
the hands have never moved.

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