after Washington Allston
Growing up, the coke ovens were open ears
I uttered nothing to. Men labored here
to impress themselves into the landscape,
now rust & snake pits, the tang of copper
in Dunlap Creek. Each night the ATV engines
protest the approaching evening’s indifference.
Its stormy immanence. In this desert,
I scoured books, lodestones to compass myself
between ambition & survival. They said:
“Let us love the country of here below.
It is real; it offers resistance to love.”
Lord, let me not forget the possibility
of blooming, unlike the trees here grown gray
drinking the water’s black reflection. Teach me
the patience of a raven suffering
the company of a starving man.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.