Star Video, Big Stone Gap, Virginia
No Direction Home
After a certain age, there's no one left to turn to.
You've got to find Eurydice on your own,
to find the small crack
between here and everywhere else all by yourself.
How could it be otherwise?
Everyone's gone away, the houses are all empty,
and overcast starts to fill the sky like soiled insulation.
Now Close the Windows
Now close the windows and hush all the fields;
If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
Be it my loss.
It will be long ere the marshes resume,
It will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
But see all wind-stirred.
I drive toward distant clouds and my mother's dying.
The quickened sky is mercury, it slithers
across the horizon. Against that liquid silence,
a V of birds crosses-sudden and silver.
They tilt, becoming white light as they turn, glitter
like shooting stars arcing slow motion out of the abyss,
Now they look like chips of flint,
the arrow broken.
I think, This isn't myth-
they are not signs, not souls.
again, they're ordinary ducks or maybe
Canada geese. Veering away they shoot
into the west, too far for my eyes, aching
as they do.
Never mind what I said
before. Those birds took my breath. I knew what it meant.