How rapidly the Blue Ridge disappears—
and soon we’ll be flying through a cloud
interior: we’re flying in the cloud, I remember
she’d say, as the plane then entered what
nothingness would look like if it ever
had a look. That shredding of color…
long before the cloud became technology.
But now I’ll have to leave these low
blue mountains, the ones that are never
ostentatiously sublime—just inward
shapes that soothe the peopled earth:
the farmhouses and trees I’ll also lose
to our ascension, before I’ve lost
that last ocean-ridge above the grass,
the one that won’t be asking anything
for itself. It offers a translucency,
always nearly mirroring the lower land
it also seems to shelter. Like a gifted
listener…. I guess it’s still too easy
to ascribe such integrity to landscape.
Will we never learn? But there’s also
some truth in it, you have to admit.
And look how quickly, as if in self-
chastening, that listening must fade.
Christina Pugh is the author of four books of poems, including Perception (Four Way Books, 2017). She was a Guggenheim fellow in poetry for 2015-2016, and is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also the consulting editor for Poetry.
Header photo of clouds above Blue Ridge Mountains by StockSnap, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Christina Pugh courtesy the Bogliasco Foundation.