I catalog what I cannot capture:
the sun, its ragged stumble into rockface,
the precise elevation of this plateau or the next,
the sea, of course, against which everything is measured.
My tools are insufficient, inexact.
For instance: there is no way to measure
the peak against the distance from the tip
of one ring finger to the other, no matter
my arms’ position: outstretched, limp, akimbo.
For instance: there is no way to weigh
the earth pushed out of earth
against the gravity of my body, its bones,
its sacs, its meat and animating light.
I do not constitute the mountain.
This, in spite of the pallet of old quilts
and newly fallen maple leaves I’ve made
at its immeasurable base.
I do not constitute the field,
although I have harrowed its length, its width
with my narrow feet, my slow step.
Never mind I hear what scurries
or scatters, what burrows or bounds.
Never mind I raise my hand to hover
the bent grass, the echinacea’s bald crown—
all of which withers or writhes,
all of which is new or nearly the same
before my foot’s next fall.
As with the mountain,
As with the field,
ineluctable as a season, sun ragging the rockface.
Your arm, nearly as long as mine, your palm,
wider, your mouth a beginning, your eyes, of course,
against which everything else is measured.
You harrow and the summit writhes;
your broad foot falls, and the field, akimbo, gives up
its gravity, lets loose its bodies its bones,
thrums an animating light.
Source: Poetry (June 2023)