You know the story of fresh meat carved into a hunk
the size of a human belly?
tells the meat to call to that belly?
I rowed across the water and took the train
nearly the length of the island
up the rise and down into the forgotten city
past the shop selling new furniture made to look old.
I carried the one leather bag over my left shoulder.
Even on foot I couldn’t see into the windows the sun
glanced off of.
It might as well have been a country under water.
Divers forget the way back to the surface,
lost between one light and another.
I’ve papered the sky with sand in case you go under.
And here is a map that will stand up to water
and point you the way, when you paddle toward heaven.
Some sleep is thick as stone, flat as this water
by wind or word or the picture of a woman running.
I have a falling-down story and one
that lies over clouds
and one that could crack open a mountain with longing.
Foxes dream of the forest, buffalo the past, crows
of the long, interesting day before them.
Calves are born and their mothers lean into
the first suck’s relief and pleasure.
Not sooner but later coal will harden into diamond,
a buck leap past moon and rifle,
and cotton bless the longing field, over and over.
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH