Orange Chairs behind Master Chef, Pulaski, VA
Blue Door, Pulaski, VA
Peak Creek Mercantile, Pulaski, VA
At Fourth and Main in Liberal, Kansas
An instant sprang at me, a winter instant,
a thin gray panel of evening. Slanted
shadows leaned from a line of trees where rain
had slicked the sidewalk. No one was there--
it was only a quick flash of a scene,
unplanned, without any connection to anything
that meant more than itself, but I carried it
onward like a gift from a child who knows
that the giving is what is important, the paper, the ribbon,
the holding of breath and surprise, the friends around,
and God holding it out to you, even a rock
or a slice of evening, and behind it the whole world.
How the Real Bible Is Written
Once we painted our house and went into it.
Today, after years, I remember that color
under the new paint now old.
I look out of the windows dangerously
and begin to know more. Now when I
walk through this town there are
too many turns before the turn
I need. Listen, birds and cicadas
still trying to tell me surface things:
I have learned how the paint goes on,
and then other things--how the real Bible is
written, downward through the pages,
carved, hacked, and molded, like the faces
of saints or the planks ripped aside
by steady centuries of weather, deeper than
dust, under the moles, caught by the
inspiration in an old badger's shoulder
that bores for grizzled secrets in the ground.
Already one day has detached itself from all the rest up ahead.
It has my photograph in its soft pocket.
It wants to carry my breath into the past in its bag of wind.
I write poems to untie myself, to do penance and disappear
Through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.