I Call Out Across the Lake

Since I cleaned my work table yesterday,
the earthworms, gophers, and ant lions
have been in open rebellion.

Sirocco! they cry, as another tumbleweed
rolls by, and clouds of dust blot out the sun.

But I will survive. Yes, I will survive.

Seven twenty-seven a.m. Alone.
Adrift. Sand in my eyes and teeth.
The restless creaking of dry windmills.
Landmarks, roads � obliterated.
Only a few derelict structures remain:
my books, their mouths agape.

Seven thirty-five. Ravaged by dust mites.
Airborne tortillas twirl and attach
themselves to my bare torso,
extract the juices beneath my skin.

A weaker man might become unhinged.

Seven forty-six. Squirrels. Tarantulas.
Door knobs. Herds of banjo players
plucking in a minor key. How mournful!
How sad! It�s as if they play for me.

Seven fifty-four. Daylight hangs in shreds.
My funeral begins. But I still live!

Exactly eight. Caressed by many hands,
then lowered into a yawning grave.
Until the very end, calling out their names:
Forgive! Forgive! � then bang! goes the lid,
and crash! go the clods � and yet my weary
lamp does burn, and my chair has four legs.

It gets up and runs away.

Eight oh-seven. I must have been mistaken.
My feet have grown new toes. The lizards
have new clothes, and the laundry has come in.

Eight nineteen. The calling of many geese.
Friends? Or do they bring dire warning?
They bear the ocean on their wings,
and the breeze in rainfed trees with children
in their arms � how far they have flown!

Eight twenty-seven. Another hour gone.
Rain. Blessed rain. My wounds are healed,
a world is born, the creatures bend to drink.
The table shimmers, I call out across the lake.
My echo returns with blossoms in its hair.

March 15, 2006

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