that unnaming that takes us, Arthur Durkee

Edge of Town 6, 40X48, John Brosio

Audio for that unnaming that takes us

that unnaming that takes us

deeper into the truth of things.

cairn trees. piles of broken branches climb
up the dry hills to the sun. a rest day,
still feeling restless. the rocks, too tired
to move, to dare anything but lay in the sun,
still cannot sleep. warm sun on their sleepy backs.

a thousand place-names scatter through the mind.
none of them matter. does the dry gulch river
care if it’s named. only the namers concern
themselves with naming: named things do not.
every blade of the green long-wavers knows what it is.

hearing the true names ring in the mind
in a cascade of syllables: a sudden choice.
defining the glossaries of being: that’s another.
if the wild fierce-eyed hook-beaked flyer
comes to perch on your sill, offers you its name—

fly out back over the corn: bow in respect. the least
you can do. as young girls, still half-wild, step
out of the carved porches into the sun’s forge,
brush their shoulders with shy fingertips, look off
into the hazed distance and, bow to the Hawk. give respect.

piles of bones. we wear wrapped clothing to hold
ourselves in: to keep from spilling out, flying apart.
Hawk, now named, shreds us. who are we but what
has eaten us, made us part of its bone and blood,
spat out the rest, left us pelleted and hollow?

who are we but what we eat? till we are eaten.
the fading hills wiped with bitter alluvial napkins.
topped with harder ridges, a spine of lizard-plates.
a single true name for every grain, mostly unspoken,
mostly unused: except by that single great voice

the heart of this light striking the sand.

Arthur Durkee

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