A steady rain this January night.
The mottled sound of drumming on the roofs.
Rhymes with a certain hollow solitude –
hoof-taps on a frozen lake (my Bight-
of-Benin Vatican... my secret, private
Minnesota). Or frozen riverbank
across from the grain elevator (swank
condo now) that J.H. Ravlin built (concrete
abutment, where he leapt into the snow
on Granddad's birthday, forty years ago) –
the Son goes as it is determined, but woe
to that man by whom temptation comes. O
say can you see, hobo, through this white
montage? A bubbly-milky foam, that seeps
and slides along the shoreline, beneath
limestone steeps... the river's undulating
rise. You remember, Jim, climbing
that vertical clay precipice, when I
froze, paralyzed – you bent the spry
thin poplar down to me (brotherly rhyme
in memory)? I'm lighting out tonight
for the Territory. Tonight, tonight. Not
tomorrow – tonight. Through the knot-
hole in the Minneapolis apartment –
through the graveyard shift, brother. Steam
rises from the boiler through the pipes –
the anonymous warmth of these midwestern types
of blocks on blocks of numbered bricks (home,
home)... by the river (with George P., the patriarch).
And where is the flickering signal, here? Where
the pine welfare of Siberian hearthfire? In this
spare square, where limestone longs to arch, arc...