background image
away from the road 21
sharp fl icks of light, at all
angles, continuously: all the while
the leaves send out their sounds
of running water, as if in recollection
of the stream they grew up by; which is
now silent -- dusty stones, weeds. Someone
has hung a jumbo empty
Frito bag carefully
on a bush on the far bank.
away from the road
1. for a great basin bristlecone pine
For picking a high place,
unsheltered; using shattered rock
to thread roots through to the poor and
shallow soil; strong at extremes: in
relentless winds, only a few
cushion-plants for company
on the last ridge twisting up, up
aslant in thin bright-blue air,
slow swerves in its multiple
twistings, in its grain its warm
colors staying fresh in this dry cold
through the centuries -- tree that is one wild contortion
from its sprawled-out clenched-down root system
half-bared by erosion, to the snag
of its tip, single existence in
among existences which sustain
and assail it at the same time: what else
is there to be found -- you cannot
imagine the nothingness of the before
and after -- you get no further than
the silence of stone, of a standing bristlecone