Whom Are You

Jorie Graham

speaking to. What is that listening to

us. I’d like to know whom to address. In this we call

the physical world. Is there another where the footfalls go

from this stony path as it grows granular. They dis-

appear. The silence is ruinous. It seems there could be thunder hidden in this blazing

blue, but it’s just dry wind reaching the field. I’d like to know again whom to

address. To say warm mist used to arrive in time & settle-in over our summer day. To

say it stayed. It stayed. I say to you it’s summer now but we don’t really know, in the

unlistable new seasons, what this one now is going to be. It’s not the one

it was before, last time we called it this, called it ours, called it time, felt rise in us hello my

day, you are all forward now as I stand up in you, and just behind me there

is where you were just now – just now we say rising from death again. Would like

to say again to whom do they go the curling of these words into this most

immense slow time, this which is summer, was summer, all hum

at zenith, though no clear zenith, no, it all just stays, it flows, it sluices round

the sheep in the near field braying into day’s seeping end. Just one. Then one. I hear

them low. I feel the ancient sound come thru the dry late summer air

to me. They do not sing. They say they know. They make one note, only one

note, they say they know they’re bred for slaughter, that slaughter is different

from death, also from sacrifice. Would like to know, please, you wood-doves so

alone above the propositions and promises of grass, whom we

address with these slow voices, now raised, now

low. Whatever is proper for this occasion, we find it in us, always ready there

at lip, at sill – the love, the silly alphabet – & here it is again wanting so hard to hold

its world – a shore a sound a form, what whitens the roof as it passes

away – the high thing in us which wishes so for something higher yet – & how it rises now

as if to leap from flesh but not to let it go – rises to drag the body up into the im-

material, knowing each thing to be the ending that it is, wanting to be a wind in wind

as the end of day upwells → is it bad to have come here → to have come by this route –

is it good to have come at all → was this the only way we came even if it was not the way we

should have come – there will not be more of our supremely simple being – no – will not –

as dusk picks up each needle of the pines against last light, & we push the last of our eager

peering out. We cannot shed the eagerness much as we’d like. It’s pitiless. It turns & turns

in us. And still we want to speak, to stitch our vacancy to the hill-flank where

dusk’s sun-drop raises a sudden fast new wind to sweep thru all the place at once – it is so

sure – as in its blind spots flies die down into the hum of this new here – who’s w/me here,

it’s so sewn-shut – it’s not our sound, we hear it & we know it well, it’s not our sound. Not

us.