Earth’s Damp Mound
I. February 1998.
That week it rained white petals
and loss completed its
turn, the words finding themselves
alone, without measure,
without force, and no body to compare.
Though strangers spoke I could not.
Is this destiny, an unopened
mouth filled with
pebbles, a pear tree
deflowered by the wind? The earth’s
damp mound settles among your bones.
II. Count the Almonds
preserves your sleep,
reflects the eye’s
task along the inward thread?
Not the unspoken, but the unsayable.
Curious path, curious seed.
A shadow separates
to join another, and in the darker
frame carries the uncertain
further, past silence, past touch,
leaving its hunger alert and unfed,
allowing us our own protections.
III. The Bowl of Flowering Shadows
Reconciled, and of particular
grace, they lean, placing emphasis on balance,
on layer and focus, on depth of angle
absorbing the elegant darkness,
a lip, an upturned glance, the mirror.
What light caresses, it may destroy.
Even the frailest may alter intent.
So which, of all those you might recall,
if your matter could reform
and place you back into yourself,
would you choose? Forgive me
my selfishness, but I must know.
Then, you said, the art of nothingness
requires nothing more
than your greatest effort.
And how, seeing yours, could we,
the remaining, reclaim our
space without encroaching on what
you’ve left? One eye closes, then
the other. One mouth moves and another
speaks. One hears, one listens, the eternal
continuation. Rest, my friend. After.
Prentiss Moore influenced my reading and writing more than he ever realized. We spent many hours talking, eating, arguing, drinking, laughing. Always laughing – he had one of those all-encompassing laughs that invited the world to join in. And it frequently did. Through Prentiss I met in person one of my literary heroes, Gustaf Sobin, whose work Prentiss had of course introduced me to. Those few hours spent with the two of them driving around in my pickup truck, discussing poetry, the Texas landscape, horticulture and the vagaries of the publishing world, are hours I’ll always hold close.
Earth’s Damp Mound first appeared in the anthology Terra Firma.