may moves to june across the drakensberg range. or,
an extended walk with an astronomer.
She had seen photos – and still. Still did not expect it to be dry like this.
I think: harmattan . and she: earth and ocean science
at once –
words for new seasons outside old schemas / and / the sum of convection and altitude.
We can see water, or at least, its effect, from a kilometer’s distance
And as we stoop counter to intuition, or rather, instruction,
to drink straight from the bleeding cleavage of rock when experience would protest:
Demand iodine. Demand reverse osmosis. Demand Brita or anything
We can’t help but wonder – would not want to –
one foot in front of the other:
They say that mountains - deposited by migratory sheets of ice or driven skyward by the buckling collision of continental drift – give way to gravity, or to erosion:: and so I wonder:
Must not the oceans give in also to drought?
Be reduced, distilled, to these infrequent cascades?
After all: if the lime between dunes was a river bottom recently enough
that trees still stand. amongst red sands and miles from any water capable of sustaining life,
and if that sand migrated to - colonized, even –
one coast from the nucleus of its grainy empire so far east of there
Then could this not also have changed?
She shows me a Don McKay poem
that references – as one might the change from seed to stalk or the second world war –
That the moon was once: of the earth. A part. A parting which left behind it: an ocean.
And then she begrudges it full poetic license in favor of a scientific postulate:
almost anything is possible
-and I’m not saying that I believe that on the first day
(someone’s) god created the one looming ocean. or was it a garden?
and we crawled one by one amoebic from its depths – either way…
I’m just saying that these mountains look like the bottom of the ocean to me.
have you seen the bottom of the ocean?
well no. but. (see above postulate).
she evokes wonder in me like desire
because what is wonder but the aching desire to know?
Proof: did anything less than desire
make whole galaxies visible where there was only dust and refraction?
They mapped the milky way with radio waves
Sent like songs into space.
we see what we thought was impossible, or at best, improbable.
take back half a century, maybe more, and the earth was flat,
The sun moved around us.
we wondered a little, wandered, ached with desire,
the belief in the requisite addition of seven more dimensions
to our currently acknowledged three
becomes like faith.
After all: she came this far to see fuzzy spots just off the plane –
Out of the corners of her eyes.
(where the rods are densely concentrated: see black and white: contrast without color)
a faint perception of light.
It is enough for her to know.
or maybe it is in the telling
because it is more than enough to be told:
‘see those there, just below the short arm of the southern cross’
(the shutter opens. motion continues. light drags in arcs across the frame)
((and - as if it were possible – we decrease a fraction in size)).
because it is more than enough to be told
that the Magellanic clouds:
are the next nearest galaxies to ours.
and that the earth “wobbles”
and that we could just as easily be in the tracks of ancient fish:
Ten thousand feet below a sea
Of which nothing remains but
The answer to the quiet question asked by this harmattan wind.
if this landscape might once
have been beneath thousands
of feet of water