This is the gray smudge of time.
Precarious ascent. A place light-
refracted and shimmering.
The far away close to touch.
I rest on a fragile balcony
the space of the world.
Between my scuffed shoes
and the gray boards,
the sheer cliff dives below.
Vision tenses and swims
when high winds groan louder,
straining the shakey parapet.
Through the hours of no horizon,
nothing but the outlying, hazed
blue of water fading
into the hazy beginning of atmosphere.
No difference where
water ends and sky.
In this rarity of air,
I put up my hand to pluck the floating sky,
palm away a cup of blue.
Down and away, distance
flees from us.
Half visible, the red liquid
of the sun’s corona
drowns last distinctions,
plunges us into a world
of lamp shadow and slick light.
I could be happy apart from my life
where these hours and curvatures bring me.
For days, I surface
into a thin spirit
of morning air to view
wispy-tissued clouds veiling
the hillsides, yellow sun pooling
shards of mirrors on the ocean.
Everything smoky and quiet.
The breath and scent of green leaves.
The trilling of birdlife.
Haven’t you ever wanted to be so immersed?
I would live here on Oros, finally
alone with silence
and wavering light,
in a simple hut,
and wood for winter,
a spot on the floor for a bed,
the fluency of prayer everywhere.
Give me the space to go gray with this,
the watery height and rim of the globe,
the one distance
further than time.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.