*

You want a specific item to begin with.
The table against the wall in a slanted box of light.
Motes of dust in the air. Their erratic
movement.

Brownian motion.

Call it that for want of a name.
Why isn’t there a letter
on the table.

She didn’t write one.

Go to the blackboard and begin erasing.
Gone is the table, the slant of gold light,
the motes of dust.

Begin again.
This time with a scythe,
a long blade of steel on a wooden pole,
curved to fit the work.
Listen to the sound it makes cutting through
the tall grass.

The sigh of the grass as it falls.

After a while you find yourself
standing by the well
with a dipperful of water.
You taste the darkness of the well
and the clean bite of the water
and the hint of moss and moonlight.

You press your hands to your back
to soothe the ache there.
What is moving in the woods behind you.
A scrape and rustle in the underbrush.

Are you a bear. Are you a mule deer. A man
with a rifle.

High up the sky is going yellow to purple.
You think of a woman you once knew.
Her dark hair like a waterfall of night sky
as it fell on her pale skin when she brushed it
of an evening.

If you had a hammer
you would know
what to do with your hands
but as it is
you just stand there.

Are you a bear. Are you a mule deer.
A dark shape in the woods.
Are you standing by the well.
Can you taste the moonlight in the well water.

You could bear the loneliness better
if you had a name for the things of this world.

*

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