Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sonnet sequence III, VII, XI

I'm probably just doing this to mess up my count.

I'll post these as I write them; when they're all done, insh'allah, I'll post the whole sequence in proper order.

III. Clear-Cuts

These mountains, ever since they were found by
loggers, have been clear-cut, then nibbled down by
sheep, shorn of summer growth. My dazzled stare
seeks tree-clad skylines and finds only air.
Each winter's familiar litany: heavy rain
brings slippage, landslides, washouts in its train.
Sound of owls in old-growth turns to silence
in summer's still air. Winter comes in violence,
air beating unbroken across open slopes
while the small seek shelter. They shall inherit,
it's said. Meanwhile, storm-caught traveler, I grope
for a shoulder, the highway's, or a friend's
to rest on. I haven't the temerity
to insist this downpour yield to my ends.

VII. Neon Horses

In the dark, the shapes of foothill slopes are lost
with few house-lights on night-covered crests
and here and there a giant illuminated cross.
Tubes of glass bent to the shapes of horses,
filled with neon light, once lined these hills.
While we slept, they leapt and pranced, these coursers,
across closed eyelids like windowsills,
balanced improbably on sloping shoulders
we had been warned were soft. Where have they gone,
silicon hooves sunk in unstable land,
blue and red hues swallowed by the dawn,
broken glass bodies dissolved back to sand?
One hoofprint glowing on a basalt boulder
marks their passage to some place of rest.

XI. Fatal Accident

No-one saw that car take the last curve
too fast, wheels sliding in rain-slicked grease
beyond brakes' power to hold on. Blackened swerves
are sketched in burned rubber. Tell me please,
did anyone survive? Sparkles of windshield
brighten the road. Far below, frozen pain
makes painted metal writhe. The fields
are splashed with automotive remains,
drive train draped in the boughs of a pine,
sway bar broken off at the highway's edge
while mileposts pass in a slow picket line,
green marchers behind a funeral cortege.
There's a brand-new cross at Dead Man's Drop.
I'd read the name, but it's not safe to stop.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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