Thursday, June 5, 2014


The Measured Breathing

And so I understand, at least for a moment,
how something and nothing can sometimes be reversed,
as I understand nothing: The black in a crow's wing
works like my deepest sleep when I wake
beyond mere self, that black like the waves
lifting their shoulders in a sudden swell of memory
or just a sudden swell. If everything we needed
were real, those delicate yellow-bellied birds
might fly through this thicket without brushing anything
and I might come home to a house full of absence
and meet all the people I've loved, sitting there
in the bodies they had then, but stuffed now with straw,
propped up and grinning. As my body too
is stuffed with dry grass, which pokes through my clothes.
I was hungry and you fed me — just enough to survive
until I was only what I am now, disappeared
into the music behind all this sound,
as the trees are connected to the trees of their past
through roots and branches and leaves — without thinking
anything we'd ever recognize as thinking,
anything we'd recognize: a place beyond this air.

Michael Hettich
Systems of Vanishing
University of Tampa Press

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