New and Collected Shorter Poems
Preview of Hongyun
I take today on a light line in fair weather: today, the fish-shape, between me and the bottomless water. The struggle is longer than its hours. My fingers chill and cramp while the line cleaves round and round my small boat afloat upon a mirror. Although I shake the white knuckles of all my hands, a stone stillness fills the insides of my bones. The only significant thing—it seems to me—is this imbecile station against what I cannot see—to hold as if my line cannot break, as if darkness shall never fall again, as if the ice won't close about me if I stay. It will be enough, I say again, if I can see it only once. Only see. And my time comes round once again, great fins swirling slowly, half in water, half in air. The gill-bellows draw in and draw in what I can't name breath. I become a dangerous liaison between the water of my life and the air of my death. I pushed off from an old encampment, a forgotten place of will. There is nothing now but water and water won't stay still. The sky is larger than sky here, too much horizon, no possible shore. Now is as close as I have ever been, this now with its longer form and slimier sides. And now someone takes the gaff to drive something substantial into the mandible of my time. I whisper: Pass cautiously ... don't touch my exhausted line. It's impossible, with grace, to intervene; the small knot at the lure goes loose, and today rows slowly down the thermoclines of deepening green.
Again and again I go away from you and send back only words. Where I am is very cold and the ice figures I collect for you never, somehow, survive the transport. And so these small black tracks upon the page. Where you are is too warm for me. This message is a map which shows my exact coordinates at this moment. Follow it. Try to find me. I should like to be here when you arrive, but in this weather it is necessary to keep moving.