Nearing Dawn

Jorie Graham

Sunbreak. The sky opens its magazine. If you look hard
                     it is a process of falling
                     and squinting – & you are in-
terrupted again and again by change, & crouchings out there
                     where you are told each second you
                     are only visiting, & the secret
                     whitening adds up to no
meaning, no, not for you, wherever the loosening muscle of the night
                     startles-open the hundreds of
                     thousands of voice-boxes, into which
your listening moves like an ageing dancer still trying to glide – there is time for
                     everything, everything, is there not –
                     though the balance is
                     difficult, is coming un-
done, & something strays further from love than we ever imagined, from the long and
                     orderly sentence which was a life to us, the dry
                     leaves on
                     the fields
through which the new shoots glow
                     now also glowing, wet curled tips pointing in any
                     direction –
as if the idea of a right one were a terrible forgetting – as one feels upon
                     waking – when the dream is cutting loose, is going
                     back in the other
direction, deep inside, behind, no, just back – &
                     one is left looking out – & it is
breaking open further – what are you to do – how let it fully in – the wideness of it
                     is staggering – you have to have many more arms eyes a
                     thing deeper than laughter furrows more
capacious than hate forgiveness remembrance forgetfulness history silence
                     precision miracle – more
                     furrows are needed the field
cannot be crossed this way the
                     wide shine coming towards you standing in
the open window now, a dam breaking, reeking rich with the end of
                     winter, fantastic weight of loam coming into the
                     soul, the door behind you
                     shut, the
great sands behind there, the pharaohs, the millennia of carefully prepared and buried
                     bodies, the ceremony and the weeping for them, all
back there, lamentations, libations, earth full of bodies everywhere, our bodies,
                     some still full of incense, & the sweet burnt
                     offerings, & the still-rising festival out-cryings – & we will
                     inherit
from it all
nothing – & our ships will still go,
                     after the ritual killing to make the wind listen,
out to sea as if they were going to a new place,
                     forgetting they must come home yet again ashamed
no matter where they have been – & always the new brides setting forth –
                     & always these ancient veils of theirs falling from the sky
                     all over us,
& my arms rising from my sides now as if in dictation, & them opening out from me,
& me now smelling the ravens the blackbirds the small heat of the rot in this largest
                     cage – bars of light crisping its boundaries –
& look
                     there is no cover, you cannot reach
it, ever, nor the scent of last night’s rain, nor the chainsaw raised to take the first of the
                     far trees
                     down, nor the creek’s tongued surface, nor the minnow
                     turned by the bottom of the current – here

                     is an arm outstretched, then here
is rightful day and the arm still there, outstretched, at the edge of a world – tyrants
                     imagined by the bearer of the arm, winds listened for,
                     corpses easily placed anywhere the
                     mind wishes – inbox, outbox – machines
                     that do not tire in the
distance – barbed wire taking daysheen on – marking the end of the field – the barbs like a
                     lineup drinking itself
                     crazy – the wire
                     where it is turned round the post standing in for
mental distress – the posts as they start down the next field sorting his from
                     mine, his from the
                     other’s – until you know, following,
following, all the way to the edge and then turning again, then again, to the
                     far fields, to the
height of the light – you know
                     you have no destiny, no, you have a wild unstoppable
                     rumour for a soul, you
look all the way to the end of
                     your gaze, why did you marry, why did you stop to listen,
where are your fingerprints, the mud out there hurrying to
                     the white wood gate, its ruts, the ants in it, your
                     imagination of your naked foot placed
there, the thought that in that there
                     is all you have & that you have
no rightful way
                     to live –