In The Burnt Hills

These are the steps we take,
cautious and quiet,
over the blackened landscape,
charred circles on a rocky hillside
above a lazy blue river.

Not to step in the ashes
seems inexplicably important,
as though to do so might
disturb the structure of silence,
the ecology of need.

As though austerity itself—
these angular granite ridges
spattered by lichen,
this small satisfaction of breathing—
were a kind of virtue.

And beyond that the pleasure
of synchronized movement,
of stable right angles
and smooth fitting parts,
each unique yet connected.

This flame of abstraction, delusion,
inscrutable secrets of things
under pressure for meaning,
images cast on the walls
in the cave of the heart.


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