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See the lands say this is where we could
have come from—the lines of indent, snow-
filled-in contour ground, as branches of
lightning—seek explanation of how these
mountains, valleys, anything, got here.
When did halt of believing w/eyes stop
being enough—we have seen this, too,
& those come before us in sanguine only
relation, who knew fauna, rock formations
of friction differently, not to be mistaken
w/erosion, & that orange lit from up in
the inside, right as touched by the silver
rod that siphons electricity, so we should
think instead, “Don't forget that I’m w/you,
even if you can't see me, I’m w/you.”
In-habit ourselves in the center that isn’t in the
middle concerned w/lasting longest—define
mass of ground we live off w/strict boundaries—
stand where is the focus, search property records
at the local office, then spread outward b/c in
these parts around there’s nothing that isn’t closer
to the brown we came from, more of our utility.
But now we finish up every-thing in front of us,
shine out the flows to reassemble unusual
materials that hit the wall out of the ground, all
ready to go—follow force vector parallel to the
surface normal—think about these lands before we
ever came to, then move out-side, elsewhere in the
opposite direction, find bigger stakes of four, say,
“This is where we’ll be okay,” we’re not moved when
faint ones come, then softer the soil, longer the shaking.
Be the only two who seem to stand upright
as ground—v-shaped & mouth open to the rest
of—filches itself down, leaves nothing of it.
We don’t want to have to find other up against
other, say, "I can keep folding in half & never
get enough of," but there's the thickness we are
forgetting to take into account & magma apart
into fragments, ejected where they solidify, & we
haven't seen the sun for days but we're not going
anywhere until one takes the other out, smoke, fog
& cloud cover all at once—we can't see our own
hands—think, finally, we can't see each other,
one if not both of us gone for good, black as night
at noon & there’s nothing to be done about it now.
We were good when we could see the reliefs,
but buried & kept where we know we’ll be when
rock folds & twists, we don’t follow our animals
that move in herds, feel the cold air we’ve looked for
all along out of canyon, demolish the opening to fit
our bodies in, against calcite rub for luck, say “we can
walk this length for the rest of our lives,” bargain w/what
was lost after we can’t win back what was, gradual
dissolution of limestone by acid-rich stagnant water.
Enlarged the cracks that formed during uplifts, we think
of anything but tectonic thickening by collisions, destruction
by sediment subduction in the miles of no-one & nothing,
get lost in deep mantle roots we know won’t move, &
if we have to, admit happening, can we do it together.
This is not enough for us to know we are
alive & if this tells us nothing of what is,
arms out directly in front ready for root
grown up from lower to trip us, bring faces
to ground, hit all at once on dirt sullied w/
lithics, cuts of unconnected & spread
hexagons to mark us, say, “as long as we
never stay still again we are still,” but never
meet on—offer other to suffer through separation
together, think w/transition from worship of object
to abandonment all together we don’t have to
pay any attention to where we are going as
long as agree, always, we will never get there.
We once got in where we can’t get out & quest
for the coast after coming down our sides, every
thing on our bodies burnable even that we can
arrive here, can’t bait w/live or dead & stand where
earth coalesced from material around the sun
struck by planetesimal shortly after, cosmic dust
grains collide & stick to—we are larger. The longer
we stay on thin soils & here retreat into boreal,
upbraid divide that sends these waters in different
directions—wills us to go to one or other—but if
we think our mouths to ground in muskeg, say,
“we’ll hear each other again; there’ll be another
time,” swallow the nutrients & slow grow cloud-fed,
isolate our-selves from us & our surroundings, take
it from here & leave us alone where we found it.
Motion only with eyelids when desperate,
waterlogged w/rainwater predominate over
what comes up from ground, we learn to live
under blanket, tolerate little to no nourishment,
blend into evergreen expanse when we posture
in a drier pause. We try to stay in the system
& adapt like orchids, endanger ourselves
like cranes paired off in breeding season, drawn
to whatever runs inward but feeling all else
outward & think the plan from beginning wrong—
that we tried our hardest but still not enough—
grab moss anchored in sedges but float over
water, walk on the surface & cause all trees
to sway desperate in a violence of anywhere else.
Julie Kantor’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, Maggy, Foothill, and others. She is an instructor in writing and a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.
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