No plan, no destination, jump in the car,
Reverse, keep reversing back to March.
Stay close to water, the path of least
Resistance, freed, going downhill fast,
Up to where there’s still an ocean
Of snow in the woods, no squeak of brown.
So steep, you shift into low gear,
Wind the clock all the way back to winters
So extreme they burned like dry ice,
Deep-piled drifts, pristine Alpine loss.
You’d begun to lose your balance. Things
Had begun to heat up, slip, tip into spring.
You didn’t know you needed elevation,
a few illicit hours right at the fulcrum
Between seasons. Bulbs poking their noses.
Murky matters best left unexposed.
You needed to be in some half-empty hill town,
Scream at the top of your lungs on the common,
Blaspheme from a height, that white steeple,
Erected by pure, high-minded people,
Who drove a stake in Heaven’s face,
Made the earth spin like a crazed compass.
(At the top, they placed a crowing cock,
The so and sos, wind devout, pragmatic.)
You can have your cake and eat it too
On the full circle plate of a high meadow,
Where the birches are still easily erased,
A pencil sketch, the page still chaste,
A hawk-inflected quiet, not the racket
Down below, weedy screeds, leaves in rut.
Inside their church, you can still hear
Dust fall; but you run a gauntlet to get there.
Spent, grey maples, arthritic in prayer,
’Sap’ anathema like life to a martyr.
Back home, their daughters bleed, are young
Mothers, a kid on each hip, bucket hung.
Immaterial what brought you down, a moth,
A snowflake, only that it weighed enough.