Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Walking through the Room

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Walking through the Room

Article excerpt

When I became a traveler through another's grief,

When her face became for me a kind of architecture,

I could wander the halls, I could turn

The porcelain knobs and leave my evidence, I could

Be present, sit on the bare mattress, look at the sheets

Draped over the furniture, I could see that landscape

As the dust fell on it, I could lie down across the plains,

Stare at the crack in the sky, the crack circling the sun,

Long ago the sun went out, long ago the filament

Burned a slow orange and died, it does not stop the light

From completing its work, falling on things,

Falling on my hand that spins the globe on its axis,

It does not stop the light from pacing across the floor,

It does not stop the dust from catching slow fire in the current.

When her eyes became for me a kind of river where I could walk,

Where I could slake my thirst by my cupping my hands,

Where the water runs over the stones the water wears away,

Where I can reach through the water and pick up a stone,

Where I can hold it in the light, where I can see the filament

Coursing blackly across the sphere, marking the halves,

Dividing the upper world from the lower, mapping the fault,

The line in the palm that ends where the hand ends,

Pointing to the horizon when the hand is held out, the line

Points at the dirt when the hand drops, the line the hand

Curls around when it holds onto nothing to hold itself,

Standing beside the river, hands clenched, refusing to drop

The ash into the river and let the river carry the ash away. …

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