Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In the Desert

In the fierce
sunlight of this world, my mind
withdraws. Like a mole rat,
like a child. I want to skitter
into a dusty hole beneath two thistle
bushes, maybe just withdraw. Freud says
we are born worlds, and only then,
in an endless shudder, become small,
but I think the self
begins a bubble in us, and expands,

afraid our nothingness will once be touched
and we’ll explode. I think
I fear the burning of the world
upon my skin-thin soul, stretched
far too far, like a close-to-bursting tanning hide.

Look: I have circumscribed myself:
a point drawn equidistant from my heart
by a stick in the sand.
Within it, there’s no pleasure
but the grind of sand between toes, no pain
but the grind of sand between toes.
Some would call this irritation, even discontent,
but in my circle it is happiness.
Stay in your circle, cross to mine,
it makes no difference.

Look: thirsty men
in ragged clothes and dusty ties
build castles in the sand. See Sigmund,
raw-rubbed hands, what fierce
determination. He crouches
in what looks like once-a-riverbed.

From here he looks a little like a mole rat
or a child. Avert your eyes.
My mouth is dry.
My mouth is dry.