The Thing Itself and Not The Myth

Take anything that stands beyond your ghostlike apparatus,
The crenellated brain, the grasping neurons.
All we might understand of understanding.

Imagine how small the space between nodes
Where the leap of lightning completes our thought,
The signal along the sheath, the sparking terminal.

No wonder the fingers wander the grieving troughs
Scratched in this glacial granite,
Emblems of our distress.

One imagines a thought, the flare, followed
By a votive of soot. A vigil. Or a hope, among our priests,
Who ate these wicks, their hands sunk in wax.

Here is the Biblical river slicing through schist.
Here the abandoned gristmill, the rock doves veering
Behind the lids of its wind-torn screens,

Black as the dust rags I’ve hidden there, everywhere.
I want to kick in the padlocked door just to see
What one can steal back from the dark.


Broken Country

The rift was something like the country of an hour
                                        seen from the moon,

the tectonics of two lovers
              who don’t know how to be married.

Divorce is both noun and verb, like blame or ache,
              or change.

Even on my best days, my ribcage felt
              as a shopping cart’s crosshatch
where everyone sees everything
                                        the poor man owns.

My body sometimes shies from saying
              what it means,

                                        so the poor man rushes to say,
The way to waste your life is to spend it proving yourself.

No doubt the spider lacing the wheelbarrow’s
                                                    wooden arms
thinks it’s holding the world together.


Sean Patrick Hill
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