The roaring alongside he takes for granted.
—“Sandpiper” by Elizabeth Bishop
And when, of a given evening, say, an evening laced
with storm clouds skirting distance parsed by slanting light,
or when the thick air of an August afternoon by the late approach
of just such a storm turns suddenly thin and cool, and the familiar
roaring, for the moment made especially unmistakable
by distant thunder, may seem oddly to be answered from within
—that’s how it feels, anyway—and when, of a moment, such roaring
couples as well with sudden calm—interior, exterior, it hardly matters—
in that fortunate incursion whereby the roar itself is suddenly interred,
you might startle to having had a taste of what will pass as prayer,
or a taste, at the very least, of how fraught, how laden the visible is,
even as you find a likely figure for its uncanny agency. Sure,
I’m making this up as I go, hoping—even as I go—to be finally
getting somewhere. And maybe I am. Maybe I’m taking you along.
Let’s say it’s so, and say we now commence.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.