There is work to do within nothingness

 
A simple solitude: slow light seams the land. The great bird turns upon the thermal.
Its aloneness, unrestrained, fiercely elegant. It knows no shallow places. It cannot hold back.
                         Even its smallest feathers hook the air.
 

The lake keeps watch for the legible footprint of matter. I worry to move over it and slip
my paddle in, let the water fold back upon itself. The curve of falling water demands
something of us we had not perceived.  
                                                                        We write by hand.
 

My hand mars the heart-gray surface. It scatters the admissible. Someone said
Ruin is formal. White linen, necessary. Also, the collapse
                                                                                                           of beauty. 
 

Its white head turning, its yellow eyes prepared for reading rooms made of water upright
and edged. Where we land, loosestrife and pale anemone. All three of us locked deep
in shadow and silt.
                                      Which is the abler soul? 
 

Telling, telling parts of the heart, the lake breathes, hurries us, its foot on the treadle.
My hand cannot hold what it contains.
                                                                           We move in tidal wind.
 

The lake comes to fetch me to underwater work. Granite stones catch fire. I trace
pools of light, watch a brown spider navigate the lake-skin.  It walks as if on nothing.           
                     Each step, intimate and careful and sheer. 
 

Voyager travels between the stars.
                                                                 Up there to know what is between is to know—
 

Yet, we are far, far outside. Vacant. Inscribed.
Ground-figures singing like they do in opera: Give me, give me back the night.
 

The great bird comes to rest in white pine. The sun sinks down through upturned branches.
                      Fretting the light. 
 

Shadowfall. Where my hand was no longer is: anima mundi. I leave no trace.

 

 

Eva Hooker is Professor of English and Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. The Winter Keeper, a hand-bound chapbook (Chapiteau Press, 2000), was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in poetry in 2001. Lake Superior and Madeline Island have left their profound watermark on the poems that make up Notes for Survival in the Wilderness (Chapiteau Press, 2013). Godwit (3 Taos Press) is forthcoming in 2015.
 
Read poetry by Eva Hooker previously appearing in Terrain.org.

Photo of lake at sunset courtesy Pixabay.

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3 Responses

  1. Ros Zimmermann

    I like the tracings of this poem. You read it beautifully. Thanks.

  2. Penny Gill

    I can barely breathe, that is so beautiful and evocative. Thank you for capturing so many layers of the Great Lake!

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