A letter on a torn brown bag (the bag
held beer, cloud-capped and warm
from skeining down along the canyon road)—
“The cliffs!” he says, “bruised blue with thunder-
clouds, where storms have caught and pooled.
“In the unplumbed quiet of the coming night
the dark is being pencilled in around me,
all along the sky—a gritty line of dark,
like silt, that slows my welling thoughts.
“An enormous solitude has thrown its shadow.
In it, I am held as still as dusk-fed water
in a hand. I tremble at the point of brimming
over; rushing, mad, between all fingers.
Too deep becalmed, I am become the maelstrom.”
In the very epicenter he remarks on it
and lights, just as the pencil blacks him in,
a fire of sage and tumbleweed to read by—
letters of some long-dead Greek, a poet
who has given the stillness words.