648 Readings


He secrets a single riceseed into my cupped palm.

It is blood-dark
and sits in the crease I’ve always imagined
to be the head of an eagle. He says,
when they ripen
in the setting sun it seems the fields are on fire.

We are letting night fall.

We are sitting in silence in dim
solar-powered lighting in the mud kitchen.
I can breathe.
The wheeze of the city’s leaving my windpipe, I have
money in my pocket.

The moon is full.

I search for curvature at the edges of its light—
something to show me it is sphere
and no more mystery than what’s nearer:
this wordless man;
bloodrice in the palm of my hand.

Maybe, I think, I’m not

made for the quiet.
He knows the names of trees and I wonder,
should I memorize them?
And I wonder what it means
that I can’t think in longhand anymore.

So I sit

and listen where the squares of lost rice meet and bow, their
stalks curving toward one another.
I sit at the crossroads
because I imagine I’m supposed to because
I live in metaphor

and it moves:

there is buzzing
and the braying of a cow
and in the morning the dew drops hanging from the
unripe grains are alive with light and I
still want wisdom

and I still miss home.

From a mile away the bus horn pierces the fog.
The far-off trees are ghosts. As he
walks me to the road,
he takes my hand obliquely. And without a word. I think
I could get used to stillness.
Posted 01/02/12
Previously published in Hayden's Ferry Review (Issue 48)
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