richard and Elijah

i.

(I am not in the wind)

scrabbling up the mountainside

he thought he might die mad,

and alone, although some dull

ghost echoed the pedantic child

tones that one should never be alone-

all that. but anyway. the walls

still build cities, the storms

whip up ocean-rise and interrupt

the global sigh, collective in things

so measured- oil and current of air.

he waits in the mouth of the cave.

he knows really it's not a cave-

hotel room, flight deck, innumerable airports.

the children of israel cry to him

from false altars, from smoked-out

corners and he watches as the seaboard

of every dark place shudders in

a destructive wash. it doesn't surprise him,

but the nature holds no voice.

he feels alone.

ii.

(I am not in the earthquake)

he thinks about some wretched queens-

how hard things can be, and how women

woolen-eyed master tragedy; not everything

is awful, except when it's expedient.

the earth opens up in some places,

the poorer ones of course, swallows

whole small epic livelihoods, ideologues;

he wishes it mattered more to him.

jezebel herself sleeps in sweaty sheets-

he knows she's on the other side of the

world, like a daughter of kings holding hands

out for a painting's face, the lamb's head in

other myths. so some girl makes the ground

shudder; so people die in droves and more are

born-

nothing brings the tectonic shift

but indescribable fortune; this too,

about affairs in another county, in

a place he wishes he didn't have to

return.

he lights a cigarette, watches the valley quickly in

a butane tremble, watches the rocks slide down the

crease

iii.

(I am not in the fire)

when day comes there are things to do.

make enough a life of it; he leans against the

wall-stone, plaster, only time matters in material-

thinks back on Vietnam because all inheritance

is diplomatic failure. he thinks of the wet heat

that filled every wound, even the inconsequential

cuts. but most of all he thinks of the planes

spreading down a carpet of heated flare, so

the jungle might resemble this dry place.

he figures it started there; girls and hurricanes

and mountains be damned. some refugee of the

past- not in forgiveness or mercy, not in memory

or change, but just living

there are always airplanes lifting off and setting down

and burning villages and bringing people home. the

propulsion of fuel burns only itself, and folds miles

where nothing lives but space.

iv.

still small voice

dawn forks over the windowpane,

the cavern ledge. he walks down

the (mountain)stairs and into the

red sun and he buys a coffee and

in the thousandth forgotten corner

two boys play football and a baby

is crying from the building above

and a bird alights and everyday

movement speaks louder than

every disaster he's had tattooed

behind his arms.

in the holes of the earth,

in the smoke-blue shade,

in the ephemeral trail of jets-

well, there is home.