Air attains to it always,
but carries the eye with it
only along the curl of smoke, or in fog,
or through the densely reticulated accruals of cloud.
Snow achieves it easily,
pinning down each point flake by flake
in a city-wide grid of white,
before crying a triumphant “Bingo!”
and collecting a prize
from hundreds of stranded motorists.
Its function in us is well-described,
displaying both continuity and discretion.
We are born with it, but as potential only,
so that it must be imprinted in us
in a certain way, at a certain time.
Yours, perhaps, at the age of three,
was a Southern landscape, a field of soybeans
glimpsed in midsummer, at midday.
Your mother was there. She held your hand,
and a drop of sweat glistened on her forehead;
but you remember nothing. Because of it
your heaven is forever contoured in blinding azure,
with hosannas sung in curled green leaves of praise.
Mine might be five or six colors
laid diagonally across a newly-mown field,
whose precisely spiralled rolls of hay
draw the eye inexorably
to the distant shimmering trees.
May 3, 1993
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