Back East


Image: Audubon, Prairie Warbler, Wikicommons

The prairie at night in November is like two spouts of water, one chill, one hot, on the same hand. Poor stunned hand! The frost, the grasses and the night clouds lay themselves out, elaborate and plastic as music. The ground and sky are hard, smooth places for falling across.

Whatever elaboration moves across your body, the moon is quite plain, the bird is quite plain, you are obvious. Whichever body crosses the prairie, it will be beset with a progress of knots and lace and upright root networks, all of which yet cannot disguise the body. Poor hand! The body is driven still, at least for a moment, oppressed by the legion of detail and the monumental empty places.

In March in the day the bird calls. It is amid the lower grasses, visible because its little weight tries its grass blade back and forth. The wood of the fence post above is fragrant. It is grottoed by exposure. Its overhangs and teeth will drip when it rains. Flowers will pull up around it. They will change color as they rise.

The fence post sustains itself in the sense that it remains real. The bird is on the fence. Its song-note drops from the blunt of the post’s head to its foot. The dry place at the center of the post may, with its whole form which is keeping itself together, buzz with sound. Sound may move throughout it like percussion down a railroad.

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