With These Hands: Caladan4.
Mojave Desert, California. Summer Solstice. Full Moon. 3 a.m
The indigo mountains are:
I have stumbled up the scree.
I plant my feet, look down, listen up--
a dry lake
luminous, planar, rippled, vornoi tessellated)--
I am made breathy and
dumb by the rhythms, by the mathematics of this
rock, as wide
as my outstretched
arms. I stand in the shadow of this rock. I
on this rock, blinking, breathing hard. I see:
ten rocks, the circumference
of my straining arms (I could
embrace them. I could
embrace them); a hundred,
half that size, too heavy to lift (perhaps
I could move
them); one thousand,
half that size again (I could strain
against their weight, scrape my fingers
raw to free them from the earth); ten
thousand more, could fit within the cup
of my hands (within
my hands). I
kick at the pebbles, coated with
(my nostrils). Dust (my paper hands).
I bend. I run my fingertips and then
my hands (the sound of a mother's hush) across
the surface of the rock
at my knees; breathing, slow and deep
the alkaline air (closing my eyes,
breathing deep the moon, the brush, the sound
of my boots when I shift my weight).
I open my eyes. I look around to integrate the spectrum
of rock but
three or four paces--tens or hundreds or thousands
of rocks--away, my eyes can only differentiate: a second rock,
a rock the size of my embrace, the weight of
and I know
(my hands) (my steady breathing) (my eyes) (the dry lake bed)
(the imprint of my knee in the dust)
it will fit with this rock.
I creep across the noisy scree. I stand astride this
second rock. I seize it, stumble, carry it back. The sound
is dull and deep:
the pieces mate. There is no seam. A wedge
must be shaped like a dagger, fit within (my hand, like this);
lie within a radius; (over here, I put) my outstretched (hand,
like this one, sharp)--I dig a dagger from the clinging dust.
The sound is bright and crisp:
the pieces mate. There is no seam.
A corner is missing; it would fit within my palm. I
reach back (dry paper hands), withdraw a fragment,
close my fingers around it, place it into the corner
of the rock. A tick.
There is no seam.
I lay my hands on this rock.
The rock is warm, is rounded and smooth. Solid,
rooted to the earth.
I run my (dry, paper) hands
across the surface of this rock (a sound, like
distant water, like a sharp breath
A chip is missing. It looks like an eye.
This is how I left the rock.
Copyright John D Porter © 2002
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